my other blog. It occurred to me only tonight, while enjoying some Korean fried chicken along with a bowl of ramyun at Aria, that the tubular pasta used in ddukbokki emphatically are, in fact just big, fat rice noodles and worthy of Full Noodle Frontity's stage.
Ddukbokki (as fun to eat as it is to spell out) from Aria Korean-American Snack Bar is a recently discovered spicy treat for me. Aria is a mom-and-pop hole-in-the-wall that opened about a year ago in the space that held the venerable Old Chelsea Fish and Chips shop for nearly 50 years. Every time I've walked by it I have vowed to try the ddukbokki, dowel-shaped rice pasta akin to Shanghainese nian gao (which usually takes the form of flat slices), served in a spicy sauce, and finally got around to it a month ago. I had only had one previous ddukbokki experience, on the streets of Shanghai, of all places, and it was disappointing. The pasta was under-cooked and the sauce tasted mostly of catsup and was only slightly spicy). The Koreans had to do it better, I theorized. at Aria, I ordered the ddukbokki and an order of fried mandoo, the Korean version of jiaozi/gyoza. I wasn't disappointed. The ddukbokki had great body, firm and chewy, but not jaw-crampingly so. They came in a savory soup-like bath in a shallow dish. The sauce was honestly spicy and so good one could slurp it as soup, which I did, until the chili heat got to be too much. The ddukbokki at Aria definitely belongs in the comfort food department, especially if a moderate spiciness is in your comfort zone.
Where slurped: Aria Korean American Snack Bar, 932 Larkin St., San Francisco