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There are not many eateries left in Hong Kong that still makes its own noodles the traditional way from scratch. Lau Sum Kee happens to be one of them. Best known for its wonton soup noodles and noodles with dried shrimp roe, the restaurant makes its noodles with a bamboo pole.
What technique goes into making these noodles?
It varies from person to person. My dad says that my two brothers and I all have different noodle-making personalities. My youngest brother is taller and bigger than I am, so he uses a lot of strength when he’s making noodles. I prefer using a gentler approach, using my fingers to knead the dough slowly until the flour and eggs are evenly mixed.
What are the advantages of making these noodles with a pole instead of a machine?
Not a lot of people in Hong Kong still make noodles this way because it takes a lot of care and effort. But using a bamboo pole really gives a better, more al dente bite to the noodles. On top of that, all our noodles are made the day before we sell them, so the aroma of the eggs is very prominent.
What’s the most strenuous part of the job?
We knead every vat of flour about 1,000 times on the pole, which takes a lot of waist strength. It’s also easy to strain the shoulders and wrists. But the absolute worst are the splinters. I ignored it once but it only got worse, up to the point where I had to go see a doctor.