The processing of mixian in Yunnan is unique, involving a fermentation process. There are two types of mixian, which can taste differently, namely ganjiang mixian and suanjiang mixian. The fresh mixian smells fragrant, different from other kinds of rice noodle in China and Asia.
Mixian is served in various ways, typically either in broth such as in guoqiao mixian (過橋米線/过桥米线; literally "crossing the bridge noodles") or stir-fried.
When mixian is served in broth in Yunnanese restaurants, it is common for a range of individual condiments to be presented for the customer to add to their bowl themselves. Condiments typically include chili pepper (diced fresh chlli, plus at least one or two prepared chilli pastes, often mixed with oil), diced fresh chilli, coriander, garlic, pepper (both regular pepper and powdered or whole Sichuan pepper), salt, spring onion, soy sauce, tomato, vinegar and zhe'ergen (a spicy root common to southwestern China). The creation of a rich broth is a quintessential part of the mixian experience.
Mixian is popular in Yunnan Province, where it can be found in many streets and villages, and is occasionally available in other mainland Chinese cities. It is generally very difficult to obtain outside of mainland China, probably since the fresh method of preparation could be seen to necessitate a certain minimum volume of consumption in order to be commercially viable.