A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 27, 2008
Peel Noodles or Knife-Cut Noodles or Knife-Sliced Noodles (Dao-xaio-mian)

"Peel noodles” were introduced by the Sheng Wang restaurant on Eldridge Street, and New York’s food reviewers in 2006 and 2007 had nothing to compare it to. Also called “knife-cut noodles” or “knife-sliced noodles” or “knife-shaved noodles,” it’s formally called dao xaio mian and is a specialty of China’s Shanxi province. Beijing’s noodle shops have long offered dao xaio mian, although many of these noodle shops are disappearing.

“Peel noodles” are cut from a lump of dough with a knife. The noodles have been described as more doughy and more chewy than other noodles.


Wikipedia: Re gan mian
Wuhan’s re gan mian, along with Shanxi’s dao xiao mian, Liangguang’s yi fu mian, Sichuan’s dan dan mian, and northern China’s zhajiang mian, are collectively referred to as “China’s five famous noodles.”

Chinese Noodles
Chinese cuisine includes many different types of noodles, called “mian” in Chinese. “Mian” refers to noodles made from wheat while “fen” refers to noodles made from rice in China.Unlike many western noodles and pastas, Chinese wheat noodles are usually made from salted dough and as such, do not require the salting of its cooking liquid. Furthermore, Chinese noodles also cook very fast, usually requiring 3 to 5 minutes to reach an al dente state. In fact, some noodles take less than a minute to finish cooking.

Nomenclature of the noodles is difficult due to the vast spectrum available and the many dialects of Chinese used to name them. Different noodles can be found in different regions of China because of different local preferences. Famous regional noodles include hand-pulled noodles (la mian) from Lanzhou, knife-sliced noodles (dao xiao mian) from Shanxi province, Dan dan noodles from Sichuan and Za Jiang noodles from Beijing, Yi noodle from Guangdong.
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“La mian” is a Chinese dish of hand-made noodles, usually served in a beef or mutton-flavored soup, but sometimes stir-fried and served with a tomato-based sauce. Literally, “La” means to pull or stretch, while “mian” means noodle. The process of taking a lump of dough and repeatedly stretching it to produce a single very long noodle is quite an art. Small restaurants serving Lanzhou-style lamian are very common in eastern Chinese cities. They tend to serve a variety of cheap meals, with a choice of lamian, ‘daoxiaomian’ (knife-sliced noodles) and perhaps Xi’an-style ‘paomo’ (steamed bun in soup). Noodles may be served with beef or mutton, either in soup or stir-fried.

YouTube
Added: September 29, 2007
Hand Shaved Noodles Dao xiao mian

appetite for China
Video: Beijing Noodles
Beijing’s hutongs are disappearing at a rapid rate, but for now, they’re still great places to go for an inexpensive and filling meal. We stop at a noodle shop where the chef was ouside shaving knife-cut noodles, or dao xiao mian.
1 min 17 sec

Beijing Official Website International
Expat Tips for Eating in Beijing
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Almost everywhere in Beijing you can see small stalls with white dough flying through the air into a boiling pot. Called Dao Xiao Mian, not only is it interesting to watch how they make it, these noodles are a great way to satisfy anyone’s hunger. You will get a bowl of shaved noodles including soup, meat and sometimes vegetables on top. No need to worry about the surroundings, decor or much else, find a place full of locals and it will be safe to eat. A variant of this is La Mian, a type of spaghetti that is stretched and pulled by the chef and then tossed in the pot. Each is great for a quick, cheap meal.

Wikipedia: Taiyuan
Taiyuan (Chinese: 太原; pinyin: Tàiyuán; Wade-Giles: T’ai-yüan lit. “Great Plains") is a prefecture-level city and capital of Shanxi province, China. The city has an elevation of about 800 meters.
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Food
Taiyuan’s local specialties include:
Wheat-made Food: Liang Fen, Mian Pi
Noodle: Dalu Mian, Dao Xiao Mian (Knife Cut Noodle), La Mian (Dragging Noodle), Mao Er Duo( Cat Ear Noodle), Xi Hong Shi Chao Ji Dan Mian (Fried Tomato and Eggs Noodle)
Soup: Tou Nao ("Brain" Soup), Yang Za Ge

Explore Chinatown
CHINATOWN NEW YORK CITY
F A C T S H E E T
Size and Location: Chinatown New York City is the biggest in the United States, with the largest concentration of Chinese in the Western Hemisphere. It is located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. With an area covering two square miles, Chinatown is home to a resident population estimated at 150,000. Manhattan’s Chinatown is loosely bounded by Lafayette, Worth, Grand and East Broadway streets. 

Nationalities: Chinatown is a surprisingly diverse neighborhood. Since the 1800’s the area today called Chinatown has been home to the highest number of immigrants in New York, representing a variety of ethnic groups. In the mid-1800’s, the Irish, Germans, and freed slaves resided here and by the late 1880’s and into early 1900’s the next wave of immigrants brought Eastern European Jews, Chinese, and Italians. Today, the majority of Chinatown’s inhabitants are from the Guangdong, Toisan and Fujian Providences in China as well as Hong Kong. The Cantonese community today is well established in this area whereas the Fujianese people, who come from Fujian Province on the southern coast of mainland China, are considered the “new immigrants”.  The neighborhood is also home to Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Burmese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and West Africans, among others.

New York Magazine Restaurant Guide
Sheng Wang
27 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002
Subterranean Sheng Wang is off the Chinatown tourist trail, which lends this Fujian hand-pulled-noodle joint a back-alley feel. The brown Formica counter and dull mirrors offer little distraction; solo-slurping locals tend not to linger. They do, however, tend to return, for wheat noodles that are crafted on-site in two forms: The more familiar strand style (lamian) resembles spaghetti; peel noodles (dao xiao mian) are shaved into chunky, irregular ribbons from a wad of dough. Both are toothsome, sog-resistant, and vastly preferable to the packaged rice and thread noodles also for sale.

Google Books
Asian Foods: Science & Technology
edited by Catharina Y. W. Ang, KeShun Liu, Yao-Wen Huang
NeLibrary
1999
Pg. 49:
Other types of handmade noodles are also found in Asia, which do not require particular skills in preparation and are more frequently prepared on household level than on large-scale industrial level. A few variations of the handmade noodles found in China are described here. Qie-mian are vermicelli-like fresh noodles made from hand-rolling a dough into a flat square sheet and then cutting the sheet into fine strips with a knife. Dao-xiao-mian are ribbon-like, white-salted noodles about 1/3” wide and have an elastic texture when cooked. They are prepared out of a stiff and dry ball of dough by slicing the dough into ribbon-like strips and directly dropping them into a pot of boiling water. These two types of (Pg. 50—ed.) noodles are commonly prepared in Chinese households and are eaten in a soup form along with vegetables, meat, or seafood. 

Knife Shaved Noodles (Dao Xiao Mian) - China History Forum
Yang Zongbao
Nov 30 2005, 07:24 PM
Dao Xiao Mian is among my favorite kind of Chinese noodle. Sadly, it’s certainly hard to market in a dry form, if not impossible. It’s also a bit hard to find Noodle restaurants selling this, unfortunately.

These noodles are hand shaved off of a ball of dough by knife, and as such, none is identical, and they have a nice, chewy texture.

Can anyone tell me more information about these incredibly delicious, yet hard to find noodles? Where did they first appear, etc etc, elaborate? 
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kNOwTaste
Dec 2 2005, 10:28 AM
I know it is from Shanxi/山西 and the irregular texture is the main attraction here. The doughy nature of the noodle makes the soup a bit starchy. 

The noodle shops of Eldridge Street - Manhattan- Chowhound
NOODLE NEWS: HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT IN CHINATOWN (ChowNews #211, 1/20/06)
Three hand-pulled noodle shops are duking it out within a block of each other on the eastern side of Chinatown. At all three, freshly made Lanzhou-style wheat noodles come in deeply flavored soup, enriched by various parts of beef, pork, mutton, and other meats. The going rate is $4 a bowl.

The smallest contender is Sheng Wang, a downstairs place on Eldridge Street whose hand-pulled noodles with beef are “noodles of the gods – tender, delicate, and flavorful,” declares *Spoony Bard*. Besides the noodles, the rich soup is aswim with tangy pickled greens and fish balls stuffed with spiced pork, as well as chunks of lackluster beef that no doubt gave its life to the broth, he notes.

Across Eldridge is Super Taste, whose hand-pulled noodles are simply awesome, marvels *Lau*. The choice with sauteed beef comes with tender, fatty, delicious meat, says *Foodboy*.
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squid kun Sep 05, 2006 04:14AM
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You can also ask them for knife cut noodles instead of the hand pulled noodles. Maybe you’ll like those better?
spchang Sep 29, 2006 04:01PM

Village Voice
Counter Culture
Use Your Noodles
Slurping is encouraged late into the night at Fujianese newcomer

by Robert Sietsema
November 7th, 2006 12:00 AM

There’s a brand-new noodle in town. It goes by the name of “peel noodle,” a word combo that elicits an astonishing zero Google hits. Find it by descending the steps to Sheng Wang, a mirror-lined basement on Eldridge with no English name. Offering a handful of seats along a narrow counter, the room is undecorated except for the pink paper strips that constitute the menu. A giant glass window looks into an adjacent fish-ball factory, where towering mountains of product seem in danger of toppling and washing you out the door on a fish-ball tsunami. Fujianese cuisine is unthinkable without fish balls.

A smaller window looks into a kitchen where a skinny dude stands next to a fiercely bubbling wok. With utter nonchalance he thrusts his thumb into a tubular roll of dough, points it at the wok, then slashes at it with a stubby knife like Freddie Kruger. A strip flies off into the broth, then another and another. The speed picks up till he’s machine-gunning noodles into the broth, methodically working his way around the surface of the cylinder. The nearly translucent noodles are roughly the size of Band-Aids and have faint serrations along the edges. “In addition to wheat, there’s got to be some rice flour in there,” observes my friend Zak, who knows his noodles.

Caren Zuo’s Blog
Shanxi Noodles
Date: 2006-11-13
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Daoxiaomian is perhaps the most famous Shanxi noodle to outsiders, due to the fantastic techniques for making it rather than its flavor. The making of Daoxiaomian is one of the classic performances given at the annual Noodle Cultural Festival held by the Shanxi government. Placing a large wad of dough on their heads, the cooks pare dough with thin, arc-shaped knives in both hands. The noodles, shaped like willow tree leaves and similar in size, fly into the pots of boiling water and dance on the bubbles.

Livejournal
ladyshalott_ (_ladyshalott_) wrote,
@ 2006-11-21 12:34:00
(...)
After lunch (we had some banging noodles that the region is famous for, which I have no idea what you call in English but the direct translation is knife peel noodles) we caught a bus and then a cab the 80 kms out to the Hanging Monastery. 

Hand pulled noodles - Manhattan - Chowhound
Of the three most popular hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown—Super Taste, Sheng Wang and Eastern Noodles—I’ve been most impressed with Super Taste. Opinions differ, however.
Desidero Apr 03, 2007 08:57AM
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while you’re at super taste, you should also get the “knife cut noodles”. it’s not on the english menu (at least last time i checked) but they have it. and it’s where i go when i have the craving.
sedela Apr 03, 2007 04:09PM
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Is the same as what the place across the street calls “peel noodles”? http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0… Yes, knife cut noodles (刀削面) is the correct name as far as I know but I could be wrong..
Brian S Apr 03, 2007 04:58PM
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yeah its called dao xiao mian
Lau Apr 03, 2007 05:13PM

New York (NY) Press (November 14, 2007)
SOUP’S ON
Down by the Manhattan Bridge, hand-pulled noodles, cow’s feet and gooey broth buns await
By Joshua M. Bernstein

Sheng Wang
27 Eldridge St. (betwn. Canal & Berry Sts.)
212.925.0805
I may be unable to properly tie my shoes and utter “I love you,” but I can craft a mean vat of soup: cream of asparagus, three-bean chili, piquant tomato. You name it, I’ll simmer it.

As a consequence of my singular culinary skill, I refuse to purchase soup. That’s like a cobbler wasting his pennies on a pair of Nike Air. But my convictions are as iron-clad a presidential candidate’s. I make numerous exceptions. Namely, for soups served at Sheng Wang, a down-a-set-of-stairs dive with a sign doubling as a command: a disembodied hand chopsticking up noodles from a soup bowl.

Expect little English and even less décor. A couple wobbly tables are topped with bottles of fish sauce and fiery condiments, while a mirror backs a long, wooden ledge. The no-nonsense atmosphere puts the focus squarely on Sheng Wang’s noodles. You can choose from four categories: rice, thread, hand-pull and peel. Skip the first two, which are available at every two-bit Chinatown grocer.

Now, peel noodles are a menu rarity. They’re shaved off a large block of dough and boiled, becoming translucent and slippery. They’re novel but irritating to eat. I prefer the Lanzhou-style hand-pulled noodles. Order ’em, and a young dude with taut muscles stretches a doughy wad like Laffy Taffy, again and again, until the dough separates into thin strands, then sliced off and boiled. These hand-pulled honeys are light and thin, unlike the linguine-like threads vended at nearby fave Super Taste.

The noodles are served in plastic tureens filled with a broth so thin and lackluster, the largely Chinese crowd doctors the liquid with squiggles of hot sauce and great pools of chili oil, filled with numbing blasts of Sichuan peppercorns.

food-in-mouth
Sheng wang noodles
Posted by Danny on November 20 2007 at 11:49 am
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Eldridge street can be a bit daunting because there are more Chinese characters on the store fronts than there are English letters. Sometimes I wonder if English would even fly in some of these places, but there is English text on the menu at Sheng Wang. You want to focus on the side of the menu that I have above in the picture. One side is Hand-Pull noodles, which is the same type of noodles across the street at Super Taste. The other side of the menu is Peel Noodles. What are peel noodles? Great question. It is actually (Knife) Peeled Noodles. The noodles are shaved by a knife and unlike any other noodles you will taste.

Time Out New York
Time Out New York / Issue 639 : Dec 27, 2007–Jan 2, 2008
100 best food and drink
Jew vs. pig
A kosher critic pokes, prods and sniffs our top pork picks—without tasting, rabbi!—and rates the dishes on a scale of one star (not tempted) to six (I give in!).

By Michael Freidson
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Peel noodles with pork dumplings at Sheng Wang
In the downstairs of an unmarked, poorly lit shoebox, 11 Chinese men have their heads down, slurping out of white bowls. I fit right in. Swimming in a salty-smelling broth, the peel noodles are long and flat, snaking under inch-thick dumplings, which float on the top. It’s like matzo ball soup, except the balls aren’t matzo, they’re pig. Still, the warmth I inhale gives me the same comfort. 27 Eldridge St between Berry and Canal Sts, downstairs (212-925-0805). $4. 

Village Voice
Counter Culture
Lower East Side Fujianese Joints Becoming More Refined

by Robert Sietsema
March 18th, 2008 12:00 AM

One of the first things the Fujianese established when they moved into Manhattan’s Chinatown a dozen years back was their wizardry with noodles. Maybe it was because they found themselves—both here and in China—at the bottom of the food chain. Or maybe they just loved noodles. Not only did they make them in all the southern styles (Fujian is midway between Hong Kong and Shanghai), but they reached across the breadth of China and Southeast Asia to add new and unique varieties to their collection. Fujianese places often serve four or five kinds, usually in soups with another main ingredient of your choice.

Named after a city in the Gansu, Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles first appeared three years ago at Super Taste on Eldridge Street. Right across the street, Sheng Wang outflanked Super Taste by introducing “peel noodles"—band-aid-size swatches shaved from the surface of a dough cylinder using a sharp blade. The origin of these noodles was so obscure that “peel noodles” elicited zero Google hits at the time.
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In the midst of all this culinary fecundity, noodles still occupy one-fifth of the menu. There are rice stick noodles and angel-hair wheat noodles, served in soups and stir-fries. The eatery also slings one noodle I’d never seen before on the Lower East Side: “sautéed potato noodle, family style” ($5.50). These noodles are generated from starch extracted from white Asian sweet potatoes, rendering the noodles nearly transparent, with a buoyant chewy texture. Stir-fried with egg, Napa cabbage, scallions, and tasty little bits of pork, the dish is a memorable and unique new addition to the Lower East Side noodle catalog.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, April 27, 2008 • Permalink