Mr. Noodles. Back in the day, a steaming hot bowl of dehydrated noodles came to life with a packet of flavouring. Effortless and budget-friendly, minimal wait time added to the appeal in turning this little ‘square’ – that would and could – into a stringy carb-induced sensation.
Modern taste buds, however, call for something e-special-ly different. Where supplemental quick-fixes and balanced flavours meet, countless options are to be found at must-visit-try-and-taste noodle bars. Dishful’s select? – Momofuku. You read right! In the heart of downtown Toronto, this trending hot spot delights one’s appetite for Asian-inspired cuisine with a myriad of – new-to-me – ingredients.
Feat one: get through the heavy entrance doors. Task once complete, making it to the ‘other side’ is worth the effort. Promptly acknowledged – with R.S.V.P., mind you – the open ambiance fittingly mirrors the inviting menu. Simple and concise, don’t let the short list fool you. Eyes at work, repetitious scanning of the daily-selects is necessary. Already familiar with ‘delicious’ – kimchi, shrimp, shiitake and the like – my mood beckons adventure. Seeking something untried and worth exploring, “Smoked Chicken Ramen” and a side of “Okonomiyaki” appeases my curiosity.
Wall art admired and conversation in full swing, it isn’t too long before my party of three is served – one-by-one – bowlfuls of harmony. Correctly pairing a mélange of sweet, sour, savoury and salty tastes, let’s not forget the ‘meaty’ quint-essential fifth counterpart – ‘umami.’ Contrasting in texture as in flavour, balance is reached across the bowls. Combining the old with the new, mixtures of fresh and raw ingredients complement fermented saucy reductions.
Not your ordinary meal, the crispy exterior of the chicken confit is revealing of multifaceted cooking techniques. Getting more than bites of noodles, my hearty bowl also manages to encompass a delicately cooked whole egg, floating above hot seasoned broth, alongside ‘menma’ (dried bamboo shoots) and tender fungi. Half-way into the start of lunch and already full, it would be unfortunate to miss the Japanase hotcake.
After all, the showing of a good attempt must go on – with one more bite, of course! Comfortingly familiar, this Japanese yam pancake has a fluffy interior while decorated with an unexpected item. For the element of surprise – ‘katsuobushi’ – dried skipjack tuna flakes are generously topped onto this savoury snack; a contrasting twist to an otherwise humble breakfast staple. But, that’s not all! Korean beef with swiss cheese “Fat noodles” or cured salmon “Tsukemen,” indulging in distinct samplings of sophisticated complex-simplicity – palatable noodle dishes – is sure to satisfy any patron of Japanese-fusion eats. Similarly content, I leave enlightened – in-the-know – of the real Momofuku: everyone! When you eat, here, you’re status is undeniably elevated – one “lucky peach!”
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