Noodles I’ve Loved

I keep dreaming of ramen noodles, tangled in the bowl and utterly delicious. The obsession began with David Chang’s beautiful food quarterly, Lucky Peach, featuring kooky recipes like ramen gnocchi parisienne and chili pan mee, culinary histories, cartoons, and miniature tales of grandeur and deliciousness (“The True Story of Ryujitsukazaki…”). Lucky Peach is a wondrous fusion of content and whimsy and the stills got my heart racing for kimchi and chicken broth.

My hunger was piqued and then satiated while on vacation in Vancouver. After a lengthy hike along mountain trails (you can’t believe the natural splendor of British Columbia), my husband and I saw a line out the door for Hokkaido Ramen Santouka—a Japanese noodle spot in Vancouver’s West End (which I later learned has an outpost in Arlington Heights).

The place was packed, filled to the brim with late lunchers. And oh, was it worth the wait! The ramen was superb: noodle bowls overflowing with sliced pork (chashu), scallions, dried seaweed, and green onions. A shot of spicy Sriracha was just the thing to kick my bowl over into sheer, steaming heaven. We slurped and slurped, hours passing away as we sorted through the noodle knots.

I plan on returning to Canada (Toronto, anyone?) but until then, I’ll enjoy this simple and layered Japanese cuisine at Urban Belly. The udon noodles served there with sweet chili lime sauce are out of this world..

I’m perpetually hungry for ramen and excited by its manifestations. This dish, traditionally served to poor Japanese families post World War II, now satisfies students, frat boys, ladies who lunch, and urban explorers such as myself. Chic noodle joints are opening across the nation (ramen superchain Wagamama has gone global) and foodies of every variety are tearing open their chopsticks. Ramen is perfect for pork lovers, vegetarians, the culturally savvy, and the downright hungry. It’s simple, savory, and sculptural—elegant in the dish and wonderfully satisfying.

Soba Noodles!

I’m in the process of brainstorming new Japanese menus for our EC clients; I think noodle bars, noodle stations, and ramen brunch specials will do nicely, both young and old (did I mention Mr. Chang says ramen is the miracle hang over cure?).

I’ve been crafting artisanal noodlecentric menu items, delicious and warming for the fall. Head on over to Wendy’s Wanderlust Dreams and get your chopsticks ready!