I first tasted these honeycomb oat noodles near the Summer Palace on a cold December day a couple of years ago. I tried to find instructions for making them, and assumed that the tubes of dough were extruded and then cut into lengths, like an Italian pasta. But I now see that they are hand-shaped. I’m dumbfounded, but thrilled to know. We enjoyed this meal on our first night in Beijing with a Chinese friend who grew up in Inner Mongolia, and most of these Shanxi ?? dishes were exactly what she’d eaten as a child – though without all the meat! She may teach me to make them, but I can’t promise to turn them out in quantity the way this now popular chain of restaurants does. They even went to the UN and the “oat girls” appeared in several New York newspapers. (That the first character in Shanxi is “shan,” ?, the mountain character that is Berkshire Publishing’s logo. Shanxi is a Chinese province and means western mountain, or mountains.)shaping-chinese-oat-noodle chinese-oat-noodles-with-eggplant-and-tomato