Where to Eat in Italy Contemporary Casual

Mani in Noodles: The Place That Makes "Chinese Spaghetti" like 4,000 Years Ago in Milan

Chiara Di Paola
copertina mani in noodles

A venue in the heart of Lombardy's capital, where the taste of authentic Chinese and East Asian cuisine is enriched by the spectacle of the live creation of "lamian." Thus, 4,000 years of history come to life every day in Milan.

The magic of "live" noodles

Open for less than a year, between Central Station and Piazza della Repubblica, Mani in Noodles is not just a place dedicated to authentic Chinese and East Asian cuisine. It's the perfect example of a new ethnic dining format that breaks away from common stereotypes to offer something more, making the dining experience truly unforgettable. As the sign suggests (evoking the expression "hands on pasta" as a testimony to genuine hand making), the focus here is all on noodles (lamian or "Chinese spaghetti"), the traditional Asian long pasta made by hand for over 4,000 years, freshly prepared here every day. In fact, it's made to order for each dish.

mani in noodles 1 2023 10 10 17 33 49

Two hearts and an opened kitchen

Leading this project is a well-bonded couple, Chef-owner Pengfei Yu and his wife Chen Mengying, life partners and passionate food explorers who, once settled in Milan, adopted the names Luca and Elisa to make pronunciation easier. 

mani in noodles Chen Mengying e Pengfei Yu

Luca manages the open kitchen, a space that transforms into a stage for the show in which he is the absolute star: the preparation of noodles. Starting with a dough made only from quality Italian soft wheat or rice flour and water, with choreographic movements, spins, and mesmerizing hand gestures, it transforms into a single "strand" that is immediately portioned, cooked, and served right before the customer's eyes.

mani in noodles 1

The chef brings the ancient Chinese culinary art and typically Eastern dedication to anything that requires attention, patience, care, and discipline to every dish. Most importantly, he revives a tradition as old as the concept of cuisine itself: the magic of witnessing the transformation of ingredients into something astonishing and delicious, with manual skill that captivates every customer. Elisa is responsible for the dining area, where the service is attentive but also friendly, in line with the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant and the sincere offering of the cuisine.

mani in noodles 4

The restaurant 

Mani in Noodles is housed in a modern and spacious location, furnished with essential yet careful design that departs from the stereotypical aesthetics of Chinese dining. Dominating the environment are wood and warm tones, immediately creating a comfortable atmosphere for guests while not distracting from what truly matters in the experience, especially for those privileged enough to access the space overlooking the kitchen. 

mani in noodles

The table settings are consistent with the purpose of making the dishes the main character: no tablecloths and few accessories, leaving the table as a blank canvas ready to receive a mosaic of plates, bowls, small bowls, and bamboo steamers in which the different courses are served. Their common objective is to extend a single guiding thread from the decor to the plate, based on simplicity and in keeping with the chef's philosophy of letting the hearts and tastes of the guests grasp what truly matters in the experience they are having.

mani in noodles Ravioli di verdure con cavolo cinese funghi shitake tufu carote e germogli di soia

The menu 

The gastronomic offering of Mani in Noodles is faithful to tradition but changes with the seasons, ensuring the absolute freshness of the raw ingredients. In its seeming "obviousness," it allows for a choice of various delights. At the center of the menu are, of course, noodles, which come in five versions, varying in thickness and size (classic noodles, thin spaghetti, vermicelli, tagliatelle, and pappardelle), and can be enjoyed in different variations:

mani in noodles Ramen con Il Brodo di Manzo Coriandolo Erba Cipollina e Salsa Piccante Della Casa
mani in noodles Ossobuco di manzo

For example, immersed in vegetable or meat broth (prepared with beef shank cooked for four hours with a selection of spices chosen directly by the chef) and served in the traditional ramen style or stir-fried in a wok like pad thai, combining various seafood ingredients (such as prawns, squid, and cuttlefish ink) or land ingredients (such as chicken marinated in teriyaki sauce or beef bites) with fried egg, soybean sprouts, carrots, zucchini, onions or scallions, peppers, cabbage, and a Mediterranean touch added by crushed pistachios, dried tomatoes, and chives.

mani in noodles Noodles Seafood saltati con gamberoni gamberi calamari peperoni carote germogli di soia cipolla

There's also a selection of gluten-free dishes and a variation of proposals in vegetarian and vegan-friendly versions, made with fresh seasonal vegetables that make you forget the absence of meat or other animal proteins. The menu also includes a series of appetizers (from crispy spring rolls served with a delicate sweet and sour sauce to Tori Karaage, bite-sized fried chicken seasoned with fresh lime and accompanied by a sweet chili sauce, to be added to taste, and even beef shank, boiled and sliced in the style of Lanzhou city and served cold, boneless, along with green scallions, fresh cilantro, and chili oil), side dishes (such as cucumber salad with crumbled cashews and chili, shiitake mushroom salad with wasabi, and fried tofu with celery), and handmade dumplings, stuffed on the spot, steamed or grilled, and served in a traditional and theatrical way, inside the typical bamboo basket.

Involtini primavera
Insalata di tofu con sedano
mani in noodles Ravioli di carne con cavolo cinese maiale gambero granchio e erba cipollina

To conclude the meal, you can choose between two types of desserts: traditional Mochi (rice-based sweets, flavored with coconut, vanilla, chocolate, or mango) or an original reinterpretation of tiramisù, made with matcha green tea and strictly homemade.

Not just China

All the dishes offered by Mani in Noodles belong to authentic Chinese tradition but are accompanied by innovative (yet well-balanced) pairings that do not shy away from using Italian products capable of enhancing the taste and quality of the recipes.

mani in noodles 2

The result is a journey through a mix of recognizable flavors and Eastern inspirations, following the pleasures of the table while allowing for the creation of a new inner taste map. Elements typical of Mediterranean tradition (like fresh handmade pasta) meet different pairings (from tea to international wines and beers from the Sol Levante). The experience is, therefore, extremely personal and casual, offering enjoyment for the eyes and the palate. It's an experience worth repeating on every occasion.


Mani in noodles

Via Aminto Caretto- 20124, Milan

Tel: 339 8865 978


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