In China, the practice of making noodles—whether pulling, peeling, or slicing fresh dough—often transcends the act of cooking, becoming an artform in and of itself. And while various regions of the country prepare their noodles in different ways, one group of noodle-makers in Nanshan—a village in the eastern province of Zhejiang—have been making a particular type of air-dried, hand-stretched noodle for 300 years. Now, only 300 people in the world still possess the knowledge and skill needed to make the area’s special take on the Suomian noodle.

In a video posted to the YouTube channel More China last month, a Nanshan noodle master can be seen going through the arduous, mesmerizing processed needed to create the perfect string of dough. According to the clip, it takes two people working in harmony to first stretch the noodles. Then the food is then wrapped 60 times around two poles, and left to dry. Finally, the noodles are stretched even more and hung outside on a large, wooden rack, like delicious drapes blowing in the open air.

The one catch? To make the noodles, the weather has to be just right. A little rain has the potential to ruin the entire batch, turning the noodles into "mud."

“Our noodles would be trash if it’s a [rainy] day,” the noodle master says in the video. “In order to make Suomian, we need to depend on the weather.”

Like all good things in life, it looks like Nanshan’s noodles are worth waiting for.

[via Grub Street]