Noodles are probably the one food that I crave the most. They are appropriate for every occasion and every climate. Generally viewed as an “Asian” dish, in this melting pot of culture, you will often see non-Asians ordering noodle dishes in various ethnic restaurants. Ramen originated in China but has become extremely popular in Japan and can (in some cases) be considered a Japanese dish. The ramen that we know today has been appropriated by the Japanese culture to what we know today. My first taste of Japanese ramen wasn’t positive. It had cuts of meat in it, corn, mushrooms plus the broth was much thicker. However, after much deliberation about why I was the only asian person to dislike it~ I came to realize that it’s because I’ve only ever eaten the instant ramen. Growing up in a Korean home, we ate noodles and rice regularly~ which was also the breeding ground for my obsession with all that is noodle. But they were either made with a Korean interpretation or they were instant. Moving to LA has given me a new appreciation for freshly made Ramen, along with a few other delicious noodle soups.
This entry is going to be a little biased since it’s only going to feature my favorite brands and types~ but I assure you, these are the best!
Obession #1: Saparro Ichiban
In every Korean household, this was always a staple. Everyone made it the same way: adding egg and chopped green onion. This brand reminds me of my dad the most. Ramen was the only dish he knew how to make when I was little, so whenever my mom wasn’t home for dinner, he’d put a big batch of Sapporo Ichiban together =) Good Times.
OBSESSION #2: Shin Ramen
This is my personal favorite. It’s spicy, the noodles are thicker and chewier. This is the brand I choose to make for myself at home and the one I crave on cold nights. I used to beg my roommates in college to make this for me when we were up late studying. Ahh…I can feel the freshman 15 already.
Obsession #3: Udon
Mainly found in Japanese restaurants, Udon consists of a meat broth with super thick noodles. With noodles this big, you either love Udon or hate it. Personally…I’m obsessed! For me, the thicker and chewier the better. Plus, I love the thin consistency of the broth, paired with the heavy noodles. You can honestly put any toppings into the dish, but I love imitation fish and a little sprinkle of seaweed =) It’s the way my mama always made it!
Obsession #4: Pho
ahh….last but not least…the Vietnamese rice noodle soup. It took me about four tries to get used to this one. The smell and taste can be off putting at first, but once you get used to the taste and various ingredients…I swear you will become addicted to this too. The meat broth is fattier and there are tons of ingredients: rice noodles, meat/seafood, cilantro, green onion, lime juice, onions, basil, etc. Some of my friends like it with everything, some like it plain with just meat and noodles, while others will ask for everything AND add sauces to the broth to spice and/or sweeten it up.
Most of my friends associate Pho as the “after drinking” dish to eat or “hangover cure”. Although I do crave it at those times, I especially yearn for the fattening broth when it’s cold out. I personally think this shady restaurant in Sacramento is the best Pho place in the world…but again…it could just be my Sacramento Pride coming out.
Of course we can’t forget the numerous Korean noodle dishes not mentioned: Jap Chae, Nengmyun, Oolmyun, etc. But I had so many Korean favorites that I’ll have to write an entire entry about just those. After reading all this and salivating… What are your favorite noodles? Have any different ones?