Dao xiao mian, knife-shaved noodles, are a handmade style of noodles that are extremely popular across many parts of China and Taiwan. As the name suggests, they’re made by taking a knife to a block of wheat dough, and quickly shaving ribbons into a pot of boiling water. I used to love watching them being made in the markets, mesmerized by the noodle-maker’s speed and dexterity. Apparently the future is rapidly approaching in China though, as those human knife-shaved noodle-makers are being replaced by robots! According to this German design site, forwarded to me by my awesome former roommate Christine, rising labour costs in China prompted a Beijing restaurateur to develop an army of noodle-shaving robots. Whereas a noodle-shaving chef would cost $4700 a year, the robots only cost $2000 each. Apparently they’re in production now and 3000 of them have already been sold. The robots certainly raise some questions about labour and economics. But they’re also just awesome to see – their eyes glow like real robots!
And then here’s a video of a human making dao xiao mian. This guy is amazing. While the robots are cool, I’d be sad to see guys like him gone.