NOODS!

3 Apr

God. I love noodles. All kinds. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian (pasta, as the fancipants say).

They’re just…amazing. That word is completely overused these days, but I don’t know how else to describe them. The things you can do to them, the different flavors you can make, every country that considers them a staple. Plus they’re a comfort food like NO. OTHER.

Back in my high school and (coughcommunitycough) college days, I used to try and see how many different ways I could “do up” ramen. What else in the entire world can you get 10 of, FOR ONE DOLLAR! We’re talking a full meal here.

I had the ‘boil and strain” recipe for Top Ramen, tossing the cooked noodles into a bowl of sriracha and green onion, then tossing them onto my (formerly) grilled-cheese-only skillet (was my pride and joy) to “pan-fry” them. That was my favorite. When I was extra super hungry, I’d add “chicken steamers” — frozen, cooked chicken in bags that you tossed into the microwave for 2 minutes. Those were the days.

I then discovered Cup O’Noodles “Creamy Chicken”, which changed my world. I was never into regular Cup O’ Noodles. The broth was clear and yet yellow all at once, odd meat pieces bobbing on top….oddly inverted peas that would ruin ANY bite they were a part of. But oh. Creamy Chicken was my shit. The creaminess countered any awful pea / chicken puff flavor while only enhancing those of the dried, chewy corn.

Then I discovered pho. Well, rediscovered. My mom and I used to drive my dad to the airport every single monday morning before school. EARLY. Sea-Tac airport was about an hour’s drive from my house in Snohomish, Washington. Why did I go? Well, I LOVED my dad, of course. But I REALLY FUCKING LOVED sausage and egg mcmuffins from McDonald’s. On the way out to the airport, I’d sleep, because even freaking McDonald’s wasn’t open yet. I’d sleepily kiss my dad goodbye as we pulled up to the terminal, then I’d park my ass in the front seat, ready for McMuffin time.

Some days, the flight times would change, and my mom, sister and I would find ourselves in Seattle, shopping and ready for lunch. Lunch for us meant NOTH-ING but noodles. Lunch WAS noodles. Our favorite was a place on Martin Luther King Blvd (the one in Seattle proves to fit the Chris Rock joke of the irony of Martin Luther King Blvd’s being the most dangerous streets in any US city). The waitress had disgustingly long hair. To the back of the calves, long. But oh, the noodles were good. So flavorful that I preferred them “naked”. No sugar, no chili paste, no fish sauce. JUST NAKED. I still prefer my pho this way today. There are some great pho places in LA that I do love, but the broth is just…too clean. I don’t want new broth. I want the kind of broth that sits on the stove ALL day, with those icky beef bones causing all sorts of gross foam on top. Then I’d prefer it to sit on the stove even another day after that. I can always tell when a pho place is too…clean and fresh. I prefer my noodle places with a B grade. I’m sorry. Same goes for burrito joints. I know other things come along with that B grade (animals / urine hands), but I’m willing to deal with it as long as I get an aged, amazing broth. I have a pretty good immune system.

Then came a trip to Japan. I credit all my noodle knowledge to the few days I had in Japan with John, having the most wonderful, milky ramen I could EVER IMAGINE. I compare EVERY bowl of ramen I have now to the ramen I had in Japan.

I don’t know why this poor man could be so angry while eating noodles. That’s the face I make when I do NOT have noodles.

In my older age, I have now fallen in love with Thai noodles. I often hit up Thai Town in LA (the stretch of Hollywood Blvd between Normandie and Western) and sit down, solo, to enjoy a rich bowl of Thai boat noodles. The broth is dark and almost swamp-like. Like you kind of can’t tell what the hell they used to make that broth. I truly wouldn’t be surprised to see a human foot or 8 in the back. I don’t care. And god dammit, what’s up with all my most delicious spots taking only cash? It should be ILLEGAL for any functioning business to only accept cash. When I see a “cash only” sign, I think “shady”. I mean, ideally EVERYONE pays with cash, always. That’d be nice. But you’re a business! I would prefer if you had enough seriousness in your business to willingly have a paper trail.

Where was I going with this?

Oh. SOME OF THE BEST NOODLES I’VE EVER HAD.

See. Next. Post.

Xx

27 Responses to “NOODS!”

  1. hopefulandhungry April 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Seattle is the place for all kinds of noodles. I’ve discovered a hole in the wall place on Aurora Ave with the best pho!!! I agree, it’s all about the broth!

  2. Kellie Muse April 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    LOL…I had Pho (first time @this spot for me/my friend goes daily) on 32nd St. last night…I saw something crawl up the wall across the restaurant. Dir-tay enough for ya?!

  3. Caroline Page April 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Please tell me the place in Japan was in Tokyo! If so (fingers crossed), what was it called/where was it? I’m going there in September and would love the try this.

  4. macmamava April 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Too funny! I still rock the Ramen in between paydays with sauteed oysters mixed in. It’s an acquired taste to some, but that’s “my shit” lol! Keep posting as often as you can girl, I look forward to reading about your next adventure.

  5. beckscostello April 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Now craving noodles. But it’s bed time. Sigh.

  6. Sara April 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    I’m still so happy every time you mention Seattle – we love you up here! Noodles are basically the base to all of my favorite dishes, nom nom. Keep cooking!!

  7. Rania April 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Wow Chrissy. Thank you for yet another delightful, inspiring offering. You are incredibly talented girl! There’s a great oriental spot in Johanesburg that I’ve been neglecting and I (tummy rumble) guess that’s about to change! Wanna try and get my toes wet in creating noodle dishes too – def a realm of cuisine I haven’t tried! So truly, thank you for this blog ; its serves so many!

  8. Heather April 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    I love noodles and I have still yet to try pho. It’s hard to find any food other than the Baconator in Oklahoma. Not dissing bacon, but a girl just wants some damn pho.

  9. Davia Nichole Anderson April 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Pho Sho! I love the stuff. I’ve been eating it for years. When I lived in Olympia, Wa several of my Laotian girlfriends put me onto that and kimchi.

  10. Marie April 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    You’ve got to try Shin Ramyun (Google it!)… you’ll thank me later :-)

  11. samantha April 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    YES! Noodles are the best! Love this post! :)

  12. ryan April 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Chrissy have you tried Daikokuya in lil Tokyo?! It’s a tiny ramen place on 1st street and you literally leave smelling like grease. There broth is sooo good. Slow cooked pork broth!!!! You can’t go wrong.

  13. Jessica April 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    OMG, I love a noodle too! I live in Charlotte…I know they sent you to stupid Halcyon but if you would have asked me I would have sent you to the best Pho in town (Akahana Bistro) on Central…to die! Lemme know the next time your in town or if you like pasta…our place Passion8 Bistro…(Fort Mill) We make it from scratch everyday!

  14. Annie April 4, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    I agree with you on aged pho broth! Homemade pho is great… especially my mom’s. There’s nothing like it. She cooks the broth with oxtail overnight- sooo much flavor and tender juicy meat. Not many places serve it but if you come across ‘pho duoi bo’ on a menu you have to try it!

  15. e April 4, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I LOOOOOOVEEE RAMEN. However, what real asian does not? Ramen, egg & spam should be on diner menus. Spam: another thing that doesn’t get enough love. Can we talk about ramen joints in the city for a sec? Every time, I’ll inevitably fork over the $8-12 for a good bowl but come on, it’s ramen. 3 for $1 at my corner bodega (city inflation). Needless to say, I’m not going around town sampling all the ramen joints like I’d like to do. I’m bound to going back to places I’ve enjoyed before- Rai Rai Ken and Ramen Takumi on University Pl (formerly Setegaya, formerly a million other ramen joints). I know you looove Momofuku, Chrissy and I’ve had that before but was not impressed enough by it to justify the heavy price tag ($14 dinner- yay, $14 ramen- what?). Is Ippudo worth the rave and the wait? Is there a little magical ramen hole-in-the-wall somewhere? Pho: Pho Bang on Mott is my go-to in the city. Though, Little Saigon in Orlando does it better.

  16. Kristina April 4, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    There’s a place in Decatur, GA called What The Pho. I haven’t yet gone, but oh is that shit going to happen. I am sure you will want to know all about it.

    Sidebar, IT IS FUCKING 2012 I.E. THE FUTURE SO PLACES NEED TO BE TAKING CREDIT CARDS. That shit drives me crazy. I basically boycott places that are cash only, except for one place in Chicago I can’t think of, because no. I will not pay you in dirty money, you will take this fun plastic thing and you will thank me for it.

  17. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey April 4, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    One of the best things I ever ate was ramen in Kyoto, Japan. I’m not really a broth type of girl, but I slurped up that entire bowl. :-) I wish we had more of that stuff here.

  18. Becca April 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I’ve been TRYING to make a good pho broth but to no avail have failed. However, I’ve resigned myself to knowing which restaurants serve the best broth.

    That being said, do you know of any recipes that are pretty decent with pho? I love me some vermicelli noodles so if you know of any dishes with that, I’d be a happy noodler.

    Also, NEVER google noodling, it’s gross.

    And love your blog!

  19. Coco April 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    You should come to Hawaii. NYC/la are melting pots of culture but Hawaii is the melting pot of Asians who like to cook and eat and go out to eat at plenty grade b restaurants owned by first gen immigrants. Just beware of the grade b restaurants owned by conflicting immigrants. I don’t want my ramen from a Korean nor do I want a bi bim bap from a Japanese. And anyway I love ramen too much it’s pretty much my soul food and you need to find kakuni (slow cooked braised pork) ramen and let your heart swoon. ^_^

  20. BBB April 5, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    that whole cash only thing pisses me off, ever realized how the BEST places, and i mean the BEST take only cash.
    the best bakery here in Ottawa Canada takes only cash, i hardly ever have cash on me, so i guess i save on the calories, lol, sometime i dream about their almond miel and i have to just go get cash.

    Best 2min noodles ever, INDOMIE * google it*, its this noodle i used to eat growing up in Nigeria, its a life saver hands down, perfect student meal, lol, i still get anyone coming from there to buy me some, the african stores here sell the for an arm and a leg, lol
    loved the post *as usual*

  21. RB April 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Pho is the best hangover cure! I love taking meat from the pho and dipping it in the peanut-hoison sauce left over from the fresh rolls… I could eat Viet erryday!

  22. RB April 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Oh and about the cash only thing! Renting/buying credit card machines and paying merchant fees can be expensive for a small business. Even if they take credit, I try to use cash at mom n pop restaurants or Asian marts when I go. Every little bit helps keep small businesses around.

  23. Kohko April 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I’m so shocked that I didn’t know you were in Japan… did u eat Japanese instant noodle? if u visit to grocery store in japan u would surprise there are so many instant ramens and they are also high quality so delicious!!!lol u should try one when u come to Japan next time

  24. Caz April 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    I lived very close to Snohomish for the past 12 years, had no idea you grew up around there :) I never had Pho until I lived in the Seattle area, now it’s a staple of mine. I just moved to Las Vegas 2 months ago and I’m scared. I liked having my favorite haunts back home BUT it is also fun discovering new places that will soon be my regular spots, I just hate the part where you have to go through the crappy ones to find your noodle gold. Any recs for me in LV town? Would be much appreciated! xo

  25. Nora April 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    omg … “animals / urine hands” has me cracking me up. but you are absolutely right. i love the golden shopping mall in flushing for some a-grade noodles, b-grade kitchen. they have the original xi’an (you’ve been to xi’an right?? there’s one on st marks now) — and another hand-pulled noodle stall across from it that’s amazing. i like to make a flushing day out of it and relax at spa castle for a few hours, then get my chinese noodle on at golden shopping mall. (spoiler alert: it’s not a mall at all.)

    there are also 2 spots on eldridge st. just north of manhattan bridge. right across from each other, both do great hand-pulled noodles & dumplings.

    mmm nooods.

  26. amanda January 4, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    I absolutely love your blog. You are so down to earth and awesome. Thanks for sharing your beautiful world. :)

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