Helao mian, or helao noodles, is a pastry boasting a longer history than daoxiao mian, or knife-cut noodles, another traditional staple food in Shanxi province.
With a history of more than 1,000 years, helao mian is popular in Shanxi and northern Shaanxi provinces, but the name varies in different places, such as hele noodles and ya helao (pressed helao).
There is a specific tool called the “helao chuang” for making the noodles. The traditional device is made of wood and consists of sturdy and crooked timbers with a wood core moving up and down like a piston. Nowadays, there are also machines made of iron.
Helao noodle is harder than boyu mian, or flickering fish noodle, but softer than daoxiao mian. It is smooth, tender and tasty.