Friday, January 16, 2015

Gol' Dang Fresh Noodles From The Odang Udon Truck

With the proliferation of mobile food venues in San Francisco, it's easy to overlook smaller new ones like the Duboce Truck Stop and its three to four vendors that opened at 55 Duboce Ave. in early November.  It's also easy to overlook vendors that nest in them, but a food truck (full-size trailer, actually) promising fresh-made udon cannot hide its light from me under that bushel for long.

I first got wind of Odang Udon in early December, actually, and made an abortive attempt to sample its wares then, only to be thwarted when they closed before I arrived shortly after two o'clock.  I was sent into a tizzy because the host venue, Duboce Truck Stop, is nominally open until 3:00, and I left, licking my wounds. Odang's nonchalance re my feeding schedule, however, far from putting it permanently on my shit list, earned it the distinction of being the subject of my first original report for 2015.

I arrived with bells on (well, one-ish) today and found Odang Udon open with its entire menu available. Five separate udon bowls are offered: "Classic O-dang," "Curry O-dang," "Veggie O-dang," "Miso O-dang" and "City O-dang," the last being their fully-loaded option. Prices range from $8.00 for the Classic to $12 for the monster bowl, and various sides and add-ins are available. Odang's noodles are made fresh daily, with the dough mixed at a separate commissary and the pressing and slicing done as needed on-board the truck by a Yamato udon machine.

I ordered the "Classic" (as a benchmark, of sorts). Per Odang Udon's menu, the Classic bowl is "Fresh-made udon, dashi, tempura flakes, green onions, and seasonal vegetable tempura."  Two types of mushrooms and some greens were also included in the toppings. I also ordered the shrimp tempura add-in, $3.00 extra.

I found the tempura (both the included veggie and the shrimp) a little limp and cold, even though they were served on the side. They may have been made ahead of time at high noon, or perhaps were simply not forgiving of the time I took to pose them for pics on a cool, foggy day.  The broth was characteristically salty, saltier than the doctor ordered, but deep-flavored, and I took a guilty pleasure in it.  The noodles, as should be, were the star of the show. Cut flat and wide, resembling an over-sized linguine, they had the heft, bounce and chew that makes one covet fresh-made noodles.  Next time I'll skip the extraneous add-ins and go for the "extra noodles" option ($3.00).

Odang Udon's current home at the Duboce Truck Stop is a little off the beaten path (Duboce and Valencia is not exactly California and Sansome) and not directly on a transit line, but worth a little detour.  If you crave a good bowl of fresh-made noodles and find your self in the vicinity of Odang, nab it.

Where slurped: Odang Udon, Duboce Triuck Stop, 55 Duboce Avenue, near Valencia St.

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