Did you mark your calendars for National Noodle Month? I bet you totally did, in which case you need a list of places to go to sample big warm bowls of chewy, savory goodness. In the spirit of good journalism and filling our hungry bellies, we’ve sampled noodles from across the city. The results are below.
“This would make me happy on a cold winter day,” was the response of one of our staff members to the Beef Noodle Soup from Pho Horn’s. The broth was both sweet and savory and had many layers to it, which made each bite interesting and satisfying. There were four types of meat including sliced steak and flank, tripe and tendon. All contributed wonderfully to the flavor and our more adventurous eaters enjoyed the tripe and tendon. The rice noodles were soft and chewy while the bean sprouts, jalapeño and thai basil were fresh and crunchy. 50 Ann Mary Street, Pawtucket. 365-6278.
There is an expectation of the unexpected when it comes to North, and this is exactly what we got with their Hot Flavor Sesame Noodles. The broccoli was extra crispy, the noodles were perfectly chewy and the kale was not overcooked. The sesame flavor really came through while the heat gradually built. The combination of ingredients was so interesting that every bite felt like another step along a culinary journey. In the words of one of the tasters, “I could eat a giant container ofthis.” And maybe you should. 3 Luongo Memorial Square. 421-1100.
Sweet Potato Surprise
The Jap Chae from DenDen Café Asiana was a surprising textural experience, in a good way. This traditional Korean dish was made with sweet potato noodles stir fried in sesame oil with onions, carrots, broccoli and topped with sesame seeds. Some of our reactions included: “The noodles are sweet, and the sauce is perfectly light; Sesame seeds add that great bit of crunch; The noodles have a nice bite to them, I love how firm and chewy they are; and it looks like something you’d eat in Star Trek.” 161 Benefit Street. 270-5269.
A Coconut Concoction
Noodles 102’s Noodle Soup was complete with house made al dente Udon noodles swimming in a mildly spicy coconut curry broth. The broth had a great coconut punch with a nice curry background. This dairy-free dish was topped with shredded carrots, corn, bean sprouts, lime, peeled shrimp and cilantro, all which were fresh and crisp. The whole dish was mild, warming and soothing, which is a nice change from the wretched weather we’ve been having. 102 Ives Street. 383-5004.
Smoked to Perfection
The Tan-Tan Mazeman from Ken’s Ramen is a soupless ramen complete with very fresh, al dente noodles topped with a slightly spicy and creamy sesame puree and fresh veggies the likes of bean sprouts, micro sprouts, nori, kikurage mushrooms, scallions and cucumber. The few strips of pork belly were smoky, nice and tender and easy to eat along with the rest of the dish. The heat also gradually built with this dish but wasn’t overpowering as long as you weren’t a wimp, like this writer is. 69 Washington Street.