A cook is rubbing the Laghman noodles.
Urumqi, Dec.20 (Xinhua) -- Mutarifu Muhtar is a restaurant owner in Urumqi, capital city of northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. His restaurant has been around for 13 years, and is the only one in the city sticking to the traditional way of rubbing noodles by hand.
Cooks are rubbing the noodles by the window.
Laghman, a Uyghur-style dish that consists of boiled noodles served with flavorful sauces. It is a staple on Urumqi dinner tables. The traditional way of making Laghman noodles is to slice the dough into strips and pull the strips from one end to shape evenly thick, long noodles.
A bowl of hand-pulled Laghman noodles goes through eight steps before reaching tables. The most important one is rubbing and kneading. It requires an adequate amount of strength to constantly rub the dough strips with both hands, otherwise the noodles won't be even in size.
A cook is pulling the noodles before plunging them in boilers.
A Laghman noodle piece can reach an astonishing 150 meters. The boiled noodle will then be plunged into hot and cold water in turn to make it more elastic.
In recent years, an increasing number of restaurants turned to machines to mass-produce the noodles, but Mutarifu insists on the old-fashioned way.
Laghman noodles with toppings on.
Mutarifu's handmade noodles are highly sought after in Urumqi. For more than ten years, Mutarifu's restaurant served nothing but Laghman and a few side dishes. Everyday over 1,000 bowls of noodles are sold.
Though it takes a long time for the dish to be served, hundreds of customers wait patiently for their order.
A diner is having his Laghman noodles.
The restaurant was started by Mutarifu's grandmother Zenaphan Sabiti, 78, who came from a smaller county to the city. "The hand-rubbed noodle is a local delicacy in Aksu," Zenaphan said of her hometown.
"Three cooks would suffice with the traditional way of making Laghman, but we hired 13, all from Baicheng county," She explains.
Mutarifu's business is a big success. Now, the family can afford to live in Urumqi. The Laghman noodle is like an invisible bond, it ties the family together and rewards their perseverance with prosperity.
(All the pictures above provided by Wang Fei/Xinhua)