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wannabechinesecook

Homemade noodles vs store bought?

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wannabechinesecook

Hey, recently I've been super interested in Chinese cuisine, particularly noodles.

I was wondering, for maximum authenticity/deliciousness, would it be better to buy all my noodles or make them at home?

Are there particular varieties that are better one way or the other?

What do Chinese families usually do at home (both in America and China)?

Among families, is there a difference between noodle preparation on a daily basis vs during a large gathering/celebration?

If there is a difference in tastiness, is it significant?

Thanks!

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Dahuzi

I've made pulled noodles (as taught to me by a friend from Anhui) and bought a few different types of noodles. To be honest, the ones I made weren't any better than store bought. Dry store-bought noodles are very popular, both in China and abroad.

 

I'm not an expert on Chinese culture, but I get the feeling like getting them from a restaurant, preferably one that pulls their own, is much more common for festivities than making them at home. Many regions have local noodles (from restaurants) that are regionally famous, and some are primarily breakfast food. There is a kind of noodle called "Longevity Noodles" which are eaten on people's birthdays, but I haven't actually been to a Chinese birthday party that involved them, so it's hard for me to say how common they are.

 

Maximum deliciousness is to get them from a restaurant that pulls their own (there's at least two restaurants in my city, Minneapolis, that have them, but it's not something you can expect from any old Chinese restaurant). Next best is getting fresh -- not dried, but the kind that come all noodley and in a plastic bag -- noodles from an Asian grocer.

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ChTTay

Depends on the type of noodle and how much time you have. 
 

For instance, If you’re abroad making something like 拉面 or 刀削面 from scratch would give you a much better noodle. That said, I would say Chinese people in China don’t usually make these at home as they can go out and eat them easily. 
 

I also don’t think many Chinese people make regular noodles at home either. Almost all supermarkets here have fresh noodles at the 主食 counter. They’re cheap and the person making them knows what they’re doing. 
 

Dried noodles just have the advantage of lasting long and being cheap. 
 

My wife’s hometown folk used to make man tou, noodles and mostly everything from scratch but now most people just buy them. The quality of fresh produce is the same if not better than what they would make and they save the time/effort. 
 

For you personally, I’d make noodles if you have the time and inclination. Especially if there is no Chinese supermarket nearby. If you don’t have time I wouldn’t feel bad about using store board dried or fresh noodles. I’d say most people here don’t really care either way, as long as it tastes good... 

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Jim

We do make some noodles fresh at home and you can certainly taste the difference, plus here you can also buy them fresh but uncooked from the same place that does flat-breads and steamed buns by our wet market. Last night we made 拉条子 from scratch too. But as ChTTay says, for a lot of them it's less fuss to just buy in, and some dishes dry 挂面 suit better than fresh IMO.

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ChTTay
39 minutes ago, Jim said:

plus here you can also buy them fresh but uncooked from the same place that does flat-breads and steamed buns by our wet market

Exactly. The market equivalent of the above mentioned supermarket section. 
 

I should have mentioned by fresh I meant uncooked. Good point! 
 

Not technically noodles but my wife likes to make 凉皮 at home sometimes. 

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abcdefg
On 7/23/2020 at 8:11 PM, wannabechinesecook said:

I was wondering, for maximum authenticity/deliciousness, would it be better to buy all my noodles or make them at home?

Are there particular varieties that are better one way or the other?

What do Chinese families usually do at home (both in America and China)?

 

Agree with what has already been said, above.

 

You might try making noodles once or twice just to get a better understanding of the process. They are not always as simple to make as they seem, although some are pretty basic. Special purpose noodles, for example "longevity noodles" for a birthday celebration, need to be made by hand since their processing does not lend itself well to mass production. 

 

The type of noodles you buy depends on what kind dish you are making. Hong Kong has its own predominant style, as does Chengdu. Noodles in the Northwest are different in their flavor and texture. Hand-pulled noodles are sui generis. 

 

When shopping for noodles in the store, look for some that are still pliable dough in the refrigerated section. These will usually have a "fresher" taste than dried noodles wrapped in cellophane packages. 

 

Similar "noodle discussions" arise in Italian cuisine. Hand-made pasta from scratch, that you roll out just before cooking with you trusty old Atlas pasta maker vs a dried macaroni product from the supermarket shelf. If making a simple dish where the pasta itself has a prominent role, such as fettucine with a pesto sauce or fettucine alfredo, then hand-mad pasta takes the prize every time. 

 

Same in Chinese cooking traditions. The hand work is rewarded, though you can still get by without it. 

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