What are the Different Types of Lanzhou Pulled Noodles? How to Choose the Perfect Noodle

Imagine yourself stepping into a Lanzhou pulled noodle shop. The air is fragrant with the scent of fresh ingredients, the sound of noodles slapping against the counter fills the room, and before you sits a menu showcasing a whopping nine different types of noodle options. A sense of indecision and overwhelm may creep up on you, especially if you are not familiar with the Lanzhou noodle style.

Navigating this extensive noodle terrain could feel like being lost in a foreign language, with you resorting to play it safe by ordering the “standard” option or relying on the waitress’s recommendation. Sometimes, you may even pick randomly, leaving your noodle fate entirely to chance.

Fear not, for we’ve created this guide to liberate you from the shackles of confusion. Our mission is to demystify the diverse world of Lanzhou pulled noodles, giving you the confidence to select your perfect noodle match. This guide delves deep into each noodle type, uncovering their unique characteristics, and then concludes with a ‘noodle-personality’ summary. So, next time you walk into a Lanzhou noodle shop, you’ll know exactly what to order. Let’s begin our noodle exploration!

This image shows the different types of noodles used in Lanzhou pulled noodles. The noodles range in thickness from very thin to very thick, and they are all made from wheat flour. The different types of noodles give Lanzhou pulled noodles their unique texture and flavor.
毛细 (Thinnest Noodle)

First on our list is the delicate ‘毛细’ or the thinnest noodle. These noodles are hand-pulled to an extremely thin size, almost like a hair’s width. This is a test of the chef’s skills and patience, and their efforts result in a noodle that is smooth, delicate, and perfect for those who love a lighter texture. Historically, the thinnest noodle’s creation was a response to the locals’ desire for a light yet satisfying noodle dish.

三细 (Thin Noodle)

Next up, we have the ‘三细’ or thin noodles. They are slightly thicker than the thinnest noodle, but still offer a fine texture. Their versatility makes them a common choice in Lanzhou pulled noodle dishes. When history dipped its oar, these noodles served as an affordable, filling, and easily customizable dish during challenging times.

二细 (Thick Noodle)

For those who prefer something with a bit more bite, ‘二细’ or thick noodles should be your pick. These noodles, robust and chewy, provide a satisfying mouthfeel. Their creation represents a time when noodles began to evolve in shape and size, catering to different taste preferences.

粗面 (Thicker Noodle)

The ‘粗面’ or thicker noodles are for those who really enjoy a good, hearty noodle. Their increased thickness allows them to hold more sauce, amplifying the flavors of the dish. These noodles came into existence when culinary experimentation was in full swing during the Ming Dynasty.

韭叶 (Prism Noodle)

The ‘韭叶’ or prism noodles are flat and wide, a unique shape that adds an interesting texture to your dish. These noodles were named after the shape of a leek leaf, which they resemble. Historically, these noodles have been a symbol of ingenuity in the noodle-pulling craft.

宽面 (Wide Noodle)

‘宽面’ or wide noodles are even wider and flatter, offering a full-bodied mouthfeel. Their wide surface perfectly catches the sauce, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor. Historically, they represent a period of abundance when chefs began to experiment with more indulgent noodle varieties.

大宽 (Wider Noodle)

‘大宽’ or wider noodles, the epitome of hearty, comforting noodles. If you enjoy a chewy texture and a noodle that stands out in your dish, the wider noodle is your match. Historically, they were a luxury item, made for special occasions and celebrations.

薄宽 (Thin Wide Noodle)

Next on our exploration is the ‘薄宽’ or thin wide noodles. This noodle type is an exciting combination of the delicate nature of thin noodles and the robust structure of wide noodles. Its thin, flat shape makes it an excellent medium for soaking up rich, flavorful sauces while maintaining a light texture. Historically, these noodles signify the blending of different noodle traditions, creating a perfect harmony between light and hearty.

荠麦棱 (Buckwheat Ridge Noodle)

Last but not least, we have ‘荠麦棱’ or buckwheat ridge noodles. These noodles are distinctive for their triangular shape and the incorporation of buckwheat in their dough, providing a unique, earthy flavor and a slightly firmer texture. These noodles showcase the diverse regional influences within China, specifically the integration of buckwheat, a staple in northern Chinese cuisine. When you’re looking for a unique, texturally interesting noodle that adds a unique flavor to your Lanzhou noodle experience, look no further than the buckwheat ridge noodle.

Choosing Your Perfect Noodle

Choosing the perfect noodle might seem daunting given the variety, but it all boils down to personal preferences.

  1. For those who love a delicate and smooth texture, go for the ‘毛细’ (thinnest) or ‘三细’ (thin) noodles. These noodles will gently swirl around your chopsticks, offering a subtle flavor profile that won’t overpower the rest of your dish.
  2. If you prefer a heartier, chewier texture that stands up to robust sauces, opt for ‘二细’ (thick) or ‘粗面’ (thicker) noodles. These noodles bring a satisfying mouthfeel that makes your dish even more comforting.
  3. Those who like to experience different shapes and textures should try ‘韭叶’ (prism) noodles. Their unique shape adds a fun element to your dish.
  4. If you enjoy a chewy texture and a noodle that can carry a lot of sauce, ‘宽面’ (wide) or ‘大宽’ (wider) noodles would be the perfect fit. These wide, flat noodles ensure that each bite is packed with flavor.

Remember, there is no right or wrong choice – it all comes down to personal preference. Feel free to experiment and discover which noodle types tantalize your taste buds the most.


There is a world of history, culture, and flavors wrapped up in the strands of Lanzhou pulled noodles. Whether you prefer the delicate thin noodles or the hearty wide ones, each type offers a unique glimpse into China’s rich culinary tradition. We hope this guide not only informs but also encourages you to explore these noodle varieties in your culinary adventures. After all, the joy of food lies in discovery and the journey is as satisfying as the destination. Happy noodle-slurping!

Hopefully, this journey through the world of Lanzhou pulled noodles has sparked your curiosity and appetite. So next time when you are asked, “Which noodle would you like?” you’ll know exactly what to say. And remember, the magic of Lanzhou pulled noodles lies in the diversity of choices, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

The world of Lanzhou pulled noodles is a fascinating and flavorful one, and it awaits your exploration. Here’s to many delicious adventures ahead!

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