NOTE TO BLOG VISITORS - I am not currently doing noodle restaurant visit reports, but focusing on diving more deeply into noodle research, so this blog will be updated less frequently. For the latest Asian noodle news, and features from external sources, follow
Friday, June 28, 2013
I put quotes around the "Tokyo" in the AAM's menu listing of Tokyo Ramen, because to me, Tokyo Ramen implies a shoyu broth and today's ramen appeared to be miso-based (possibly with a bit of pork bone fortification). It was a forthright if not particularly complex broth that I enjoyed. The noodles were of the thin, curly style, and cooked hard the way I like. The chashu was on the dry side, and a bit meager in quantity for the price. If there was anything they didn't stint on, it was the noodles, really too many for the bowl, like a built-in kaedama. Overall, it was a brave attempt, but Cafe Asia won't be confused for a ramen-ya any time soon.
Where slurped: Cafe Asia at the Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Back in February, I rang out the tenure of Turtle Tower Restaurant in its original Larkin St. location with a ceremonial bowl of TT's iconic pho ga (chicken soup). It recently re-opened in its new digs a couple of doors up the street from its old location, and today I got around to ringing in its return. While the new Turtle Tower venue doesn't quite tower over the old one, it has literally raised itself up a level, adding an upstairs dining area, so I raised the level of my chicken pho a level, ordering it with giblets, a dish known as phở gà lòng.
The relocated Turtle Tower Restaurant, seen below with a blue facade, has yet to have a sign erected to identify it, but needless to say its legion of regulars have no trouble finding it.
Where Slurped: Turtle Tower Restaurant, 645 Larkin St., Little Saigon, San Francisco
Friday, June 14, 2013
I've blogged here and elsewhere in the past about Azalina Eusope's excellent Penang-style Malaysian food offerings, including savory laksas. Her Azalina's Malaysian stall is one of the things that keeps me returning to Off The Grid's Friday night Fort Mason Center events.
Azalina's Malaysian's White Peach Noodle Laksa, featured at Off the Grid the past two Friday nights, not only uses peach in the broth, along with lemongrass, coconut and the usual spices, but also incorporates peach pulp in the noodles. The chief effect of this, according to Azalina and supported by my own experience, is a softer, more unctuous noodle. It also undoubtedly adds to the peachy tartness of the soup, though it's difficult to tell how much of this comes from the noodle itself. But the end result was very salubrious. I can't say I could really detect much peach flavor (and the fact that I ordered my laksa extra spicy probably didn't help) but the extra tartness was palpable, and had the salubrious effect of neutering any potential cloying sweetness from the coconut, making for a wonderfully delicious bowl of laksa.
[Noodle photo courtesy Azalina Eusope]
Where slurped: Azalina's Malaysian food stall, Off the Grid Fort Mason Center
Saturday, June 1, 2013
It turns out that "Kitakata" can either designate the regional soup style of the City of Kitakata, or simply the particular type of noodle associated with that soup style, and Tanpopo was using the term in the latter sense. According to the Rameniac blog, Kitakata ramen features
"...a noodle made largely from mountain spring water. A significant amount of water is added to the noodle, which shapes up flat, wide, and curled. A tactile sensation of slurping and the chewiness are the key features of Kitakata ramen noodles."
Tanpopo is a hectic but cheerful venue which fits my imaginary picture of what a popular ramen-ya should be like, and has a long and varied menu of both ramen and sides. I'll be back.
Where slurped: Tanpopo Restaurant, 1740 Buchanan St San Francisco, On the Buchanan Street Mall.