Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Noodle! New Cookbook Takes You From Ants On A Tree To Zaru Soba

I seldom never have reviewed cookbooks in this blog, but one has just come down the pike that I've been enthusiastically awaiting and not at all disappointed to receive just today. It's Noodle! --`100 Amazing Authentic Recipes, by MiMi Aye.  

A disclaimer here: I don't cook and my wife (a pretty good Shanghai jiachang cook hereslf) eschews cookbooks, but at first look the the book appears to be an excellent resource for discovering, understanding and de-constructing the whole broad spectrum of noodle dishes from Persia (Ash-e-Reshteh) across Asia to Hawaii (Saimin). It's almost like a catalog of the various noodle dishes I've found or are still looking for in the San Francisco Bay Area for my blog, including a few I haven't even thought about or heard of.

The roster of slurpables in Noodle! begins teasingly with Chicken Chow Mein (yes, that's a real Chinese dish) and ends on a light note with the author's own take on Keizo Shimamoto's Ramen Burger.  In between is a whole galaxy of familiar and unfamiliar classics like Ants Climbing a Tree, Laghman, Thai Boat Noodles and Bukkake Udon, which I didn't believe was a thing until I encountered it myself a couple of weeks ago at Udon Muzigo.

MiMi Aye is a Burmese Londoner, and as such the book is rich in recipes for Burmese classics (more than a dozen), a fact that will play well in the Bay Area with our inexplicably lively Burmese food culture.  But also in the palette of this rich noodle tapestry you'll find Chinese, Filipino, Hong Kong, Indonesian, Iranian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Malaysian, Nepalese, Singaporean, Taiwanese, Thai, Tibetan and Vietnamese contributions to noodle heaven. You'll find stir-fried noodes, soup noodles, dry (sauced) noodles, salad noodles (Oh, Burma!) and even snacks made with noodles (try MiMi's "Cheat's Bombay Mix").

The one dissonant note here may be the book's availability. It's a direct import, and I'm not sure about the distribution channels. I got mine through Amazon just today, after ordering in May, and their website currently shows only one copy remaining! I'm guessing Kinokuniya Books might be a good place to look, and I'm going to lean on the Asian Art Museum Store (generally a good source for Asian cookbooks) to carry it. Meanwhile, if you see it, let me know. And grab a copy!

Noodle!: 100 Amazing Authentic Recipes by MiMi Aye
Absolute Press, UK
$23.00 US ($17.25 on Amazon


  1. Thank you for the lovely review!

    Just to confirm, Noodle! was released in the US and Canada on October 28, so it's not an import and should be available. My publisher has confirmed that Amazon has put in a new order :)

    1. Sorry for the imprecise terminology. I was referring to the fact that it does not appear to be a separate "U.S. Edition" with a separate publisher. Maybe Amazon has made that practice archaic, but I still wonder about distribution outside of Amazon.


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