#035 NONG SHIM Neoguri Spicy Seafood Udon Noodles

nongshim neoguri spicy seafood udon
nongshim neoguri spicy seafood udon
nongshim neoguri spicy seafood udon
Woke up starving one morning…er…afternoon and what better way to satisfy my hunger than with a tasty bowl of noodles? After standing in front of the the noodle closet for what seemed like forever because I could not decide, (everything looked so good!) I finally chose the spicy seafood flavor udon from Nongshim. The fun thing about this noodle is the round shape that fits perfectly in the pot. As with all Korean brand instant noodles, I find the noodles are on the very al dente side so I like to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. This gets the noodes soft and chewy just the way I like it. The additional cooking time allows the noodles to soak up a lot of the broth. Because these are udon style noodles, they are a bit thicker which makes it a perfect broth soaker upper. Yum. The broth has a very strong seafood taste but the spicy is more on the mild side. The dominate flavors that come through are squid and garlic. I added only a handful of dried shitake to the soup and garnished with purple cabbage and green onions.

#037 SAMYANG FOODS Pojangmacha Oriental Style U-Dong

 

 
I began another afternoon standing in front of the noodle closet trying to figure out which noodle to try. Finally, this udon…or U-dong as it says on the packaging caught my eye. I put a bit of a chinese twist on these korean noodles by adding a tea egg. There were also some tasty looking mushrooms in the fridge (I think these are trumpet royales?) so I decided to add to the udon as a meat substitution. When I opened the noodle package, it was the usual, there were two packets, one seasoning and one dehydrated assortment of veggies and sesame seeds. And same cooking routine for all korean instant noodles, I cooked the noodles for an extra 5-7 minutes because I like the noodles more tender (korean instant noodles tend to be thick and chewy.) I had no clue what “pojangmacha” means so I did a little research on the web and found out that a pojangmacha is a small tented restaurant or a restaurant on wheels that sell a variety of inexpensive snack foods. Most popular as a late night destination for snacking and drinking. FUN! I wish there were pojangmachas in the states. Now that I know what pojangmacha is, I still can’t figure out exactly what makes this “oriental” style though. Well, whatever it is, it’s mild and a bit seafoody. Definitely has a strong onion taste as well.

Daly City, CA: Tani’s Kitchen


My dear globe trotting friend is the one who introduced me to this restaurant or I would have never found it otherwise. Tani’s Kitchen is tucked away in a small strip mall in Daly City and only serves a handful of patrons at a time, I think there was room for 20 people? Because the restaurant is so small it makes so much sense that this restaurant predominately serves to go orders.

When we were seated the first thing I noticed were all the signs! No cell phones please! I think I’ve seen this sign at the Japanese dollar stores.

A lot of rules for a such a little restaurant! No shopping carts please! I guess that’s been a big problem in the past? Love it!
Curry Udon:

I was in the mood for curry udon so I decided to indulge myself and I indulged indeed (say that five times fast). What I really like about the curry udon are the noodles! The udon noodles are sorta flat which seemed to hold on to the curry broth better than the round udon that I’m familiar with. The curry broth was also very delicious because the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin – it was just right! Ooooo…and it was spicy but not like tongue numbing hot it was slow and gradual spicy. It’s the kind of deep curry spice that slowly creeps up on you with every bite and then before you know it you have a runny nose – all characteristics of a yummy bowl of curry udon.
Salmon Skin Salad:

Salmon skin salad was goood. The salmon skin was crispy, the flesh was fatty and savory and went so well with the light tangy dressing. This dish made for a great appetizer and would’ve been great as a main dish too.
Fish Tempura Special:

We were very fortunate to get the last serving of this fish tempura special.

San Francisco, CA: Kappou Gomi

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If you love Japanese cusine, if you love sushi, if you love food art, you must come here! They open at 5:30 and already a line! Open, Open, Open!
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Don’t even ask! Read the sign!
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Very cozy interior, seats about 25-30 people? Not good for large groups. I think 5-6 per table is max! They will refuse customers.
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Their menu is quite large and one can get very discombobulated but don’t fret! Their menu is actually very organized for the number of items they have… it’ll all make sense once you experience this for yourself.
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Let me introduce you to the best Udon noodles EVER. These noodles can cure a cold! If you’re feeling down or under the weather or just have a hankerin’ for udon noodles – you must come here! I think these are the BEST udon noodles I’ve ever had. The BEST I say!
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The noodles are light and delicate; they suspend weightlessly in the broth. These noodles were made for slurping! A little thinner than the udon i’m accustomed to and the texture is like jelly but still firm, I’m guessing there’s a high konjac content.
The broth is also light but with deep complex flavors, savory, smokey, sweet, earthy and umami!
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I love the attention to detail at Kappou Gomi. Even the egg get’s it’s own home.
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This is me in heaven. :)

#015 SANYO Nameko Soba

sanyo nameko soba
sanyo nameko soba

Another donation from Fanny to the noodle cause. I’m not positive what flavor these noodles are because all the words on the package are in Japanese except for the nutrition label, but I would bet money that it’s mushroom flavor. This was the first time I’ve ever tried instant soba noodles. For some reason, I woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and the first thing that I had on my mind was eating a pack of instant noodle. I suppose I felt a little guilty starting out my day with something so un-nutritious so I figured soba is a little healthier which would make it okay. I peeled back the lid to find little pebbles of seasoning, dehydrated scallions, mushrooms & fish cake. The whole mixture kinda looked like dog food. I filled the cup with hot water and covered for about 10 minutes. When I uncovered the noodles, I was amazed to see that the noodles looked just like the picture! And the best part is that it tasted good! The noodles were hearty and the rehydrated veggies tasted very fresh. The flavor of the soup had the distinct earthy flavor of mushrooms. I have to keep a look out for more Sanyo brand noodles and for other instant soba products. This is a must try if you can find it.
nameko soba
*Product of Japan

Zaru Soba and Live Uni Sashimi Lunch

zaru soba with uni
After a long Sunday afternoon of house shopping this was the perfect treat. We decided to take a chance and swing by Mei Wah market on Clement street to see if they had any live uni in their seafood section. We were in luck and found about 10 or so in the tank. While Anthony bagged 3 of the sea urchins I grabbed a daikon and kaiware or daikon sprouts to accompany the sashimi. On the way home we stopped by BevMo and picked up a couple bottles of arrogant bastard and another ale that’s made from the stone brewery (sooo good).
zaru soba
zaru soba
It was such a beautiful day we decided to have our late lunch in the garden. As Anthony prepared the uni, I shredded the daikon into long thin strands for the sashimi and grated some for the zaru soba. There was already a bowl of perfectly chilled soba that his mom had prepared the night before which help make this a 30 minute meal. My favorite part of eating zaru soba is the dipping sauce. I like extra wasabi and green onions in my tsuyu.
live uni
The flavor of fresh uni is the absolute best, I won’t really eat it any other way. It’s very sweet and nutty and goes very well with the kaiware’s slight bitter and spicy flavor.
live uni
Here’s a picture of the live sea urchins or uni.
live uni
This is what the inside looks like….pretty gross. There are lots of guts, membrane and LOTS of sea crap to get through before you get to the good part.
live uni
This is the good part….the edible part is actually the roe sacks of the sea urchin. This was an exceptionally big piece of uni sashimi, about the size of your tongue.
live uni on ice
Keepin’ it chill…There are exactly 5 roe sacks in each uni.

#036 MARUCHAN Tempura Soba

maruchan tempura soba
maruchan tempura soba
maruchan tempura soba
Often times, the deciding factor on what noodle I’ll eat is dependent on what ingredients I have available in the fridge. Then I try to match it up to the the serving suggestion pictures. On this particular day, I had left over chinese broccoli in the fridge that I wanted to use up, so I went to the noodle closet and searched for a package that had chinese broccoli or something similar. As you can see, there are some greens in the picture of this maruchan tempura soba so this was the winner! I also had some cooked frozen shrimp and thought it would go nicely with the noodles and inadvertently created my own version of de-constructed shrimp tempura soba!

#050 MARUCHAN Midori No Tanuki Instant Soba Bowl





Mmmm. This was quite a treat. To date, this is only the second instant soba that I’ve tried and yet again, it was mighty tasty. The broth was savory with a sweet finish. I think it’s bonito based? The soba noodles tasted like…well soba noodles? Hearty, earthy and a bit grainier in texture. The tempura puffs and tempura disc of green peas and carrots (I think?) soaked up the broth so every bite bursted with flavor. Maruchan noodles bowls have not let me down to date.

#039 SHIRAKIKU Sanukiya Somen






Today was a sad day. I don’t often meet a noodle that I don’t like….but unfortunately, I met one today. Excited to try somen for the first time and intrigued by the word “fresh” on the label, I had high hopes for this noodle. When I opened the lid, I was delightfully surprised to find a vacuumed sealed package of what looked like rice noodles (so this is what they meant by “fresh”!) and a seasoning packet. As soon as the hot water hit the seasoning, the savory scent of bonito wafted up my nostrils. The noodles turned out tasting like mushy rubberbands which was a bummer because the soup was pretty tasty. The flavor of the broth was on the milder side as with most bonito soups and had hints of seaweed and green onion. The huge bowl is misleading because the actual serving size of the noodles are teeny! Even for me! Bit of a disappointment…perhaps it was user error?

#057 VIFON Bun Lau Thai – Thai Style Instant Vermicelli







Although the cooking suggestions say to cook the noodles in the bowl I normally boil instant rice noodles in the pot (especially rice vermicelli). I usually use a hot water dispenser for cup and bowl noodles but the temperature of the water isn’t thaaat hot to begin with so it doesn’t cook rice noodles very thoroughly. So instead of waiting for the water to boil and then waiting for the noodles to cook in the bowl, I get it done faster in the pot. However, I thought I’d follow the directions this time to see what happens. Surprisingly, the texture of the noodles turned out pretty good and ended up cooking all the way through. I wanted to make lunch a little more substantial so I added some shrimp. I sliced the shrimp in half length-wise (I figured it would cook faster and all the way through this way) and dropped them in the bowl to cook with the noodles. And tada! it worked! A little cilantro and lunch was ready. The soup is light, a little sour with hints of lemongrass…mmm…and fried onions. Overall the Thai flavor was light but still tasty.