Archive

Soup

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 23, Shoyu

 

Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu ramen

I was now almost one day in classy Düsseldorf and felt it was already time for seconds at Naniwa, where I had started my foodie safari through this town. It was a few hours past my udon lunch and there was still a bit to go before our big sushi dinner tonight so coming back here just seemed the logical thing to do. Because of the weird mid day timing, the queue, short to begin with, went super fast and before I could think about it too much I was already sitting at the bar counter browsing through that beautiful menu of theirs. I could’ve ordered without even looking at it again as I already knew what I wanted since I had left yesterday. They’ve proven themselves worthy, so now I sat here excited again, waiting for my shoyu ramen.

 

 

 

Oh gosh, it was beautiful. The broth was amazing, clear on the surface though porky and muddy on the ground with a salty, tongue-coating umami. I already had that content smile crawling up on me again. Feeling pretty proud of myself and my brilliant idea to fit in another meal today, I started lifting springy noodles and slurping them down in a machine-like manner, being twice as fast and louder than the guy in the neighbouring seat as if it was some sort of challenge. The chashu came in a few thin slices, soft and melt-in-my-mouth and even the tamago, not perfect, however, had strongly improved on the wax level compared to yesterday. Enough said, I liked this even better than their delicious Tantanmen and because of the less thicker broth I also emptied that bowl down to the last drop. This was awesome, domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

Advertisements

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 18, Izakaya

UdonAbout halftime in food paradise and I was far from being finished yet. Today the plan was to meet my host and his colleague for some Tekka Don at Big Tuna just around the corner. We had missed the sign at the door last night though stating that the shop was gonna be closed for the holidays and so we found ourselves before closed doors and sadly also without any tuna rice bowls. His colleague, a passionate foodie himself, quickly came up with an alternative not far away from Big Tuna and this is how I ended up at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo unintentionally.

Entering the shop, a cloud of fragrant steam hit me right in the face with scents that instantly triggered memories of past trips to Japan mainly spent at random izakayas and ramen shops. The kitchen and service crew greeted us in a loud and familiar chorus and the many Japanese customers made me feel confident that this was gonna be a good choice.

Out of curiosity and for research reasons I grabbed one of their regular menus off the bar. I hadn’t even opened it yet when our waitress swiftly took it away signaling that they don’t serve food from this menu before dinner time. Being surprised but hungry I started scanning their small lunch menu with mostly little set meals and a few noodle dishes.

My choice fell on the udon with wakame, scallions and tempura crumbs. I don’t know what it is with the dashi broth that’s so particular to udon but I could soak it up by the gallon, light and defined. By the time I was finished taking my pictures the tempura had already softened but the udon still had their signature bounciness and chew, and even though I’m not huge on wakame I really liked theirs here. This dish always seems so simple and easy but it’s so much more than just a soup and hardly ever disappoints.

I truly liked it here and would have loved to experience its full smokey izakaya potential and spirit in the evening but I guess this just has to wait until next time.

Get Your Grub On!

Kushi-Tei of Tokyo
Immermannstraße 38
40210 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 360 935
http://brickny.com/kushitei-de/

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 1, Tantan

DSC01833-01

Tantanmen

I haven’t been out to Düsseldorf enough and always only heard what insane food paradise in regards to Japanese cuisine it’s supposed to be. Since being so close this week I decided to make a stopover and visit a very fun friend of mine, who just happens to live right in the midst of Little Tokyo, the area neighbouring the Düsseldorf main train station, which is home to many Asian (predominantly Japanese) shops, restaurants and people.

After dropping my stuff at the apartment and throwing in a quick cold one with my friend and his brother we headed around the corner to get some dinner at one of the ramen shops in the area. To my delight, there was a queue out front, which is always a good sign, and luckily it kept on moving quite fast too. Not long and we were sitting down and I started smiling just browsing through the menu.

We had a little selection of appetizers to go around before the mains and we were off to a good start. We had crispy and succulent tori karaage, some juicy gyoza and nutty gomaae with a thick sesame gravy. All washed down with a cool asahi from the tap and I, still smiling, was ready for my first ramen bowl since way too long.

My sin of choice was a spicy Tantanmen with extra f.o.c. tamago and veggies. Oh goodness, this mince infused broth was thick and rich like a gooey katong laksa with a mud-like sediment of the best kind. Strong sesame flavours my taste buds, instantly but gently numbed by the chilli oil and fibres. Loved the noodles, implied curly and the chewy bouncy kind I use to admire. Just the egg didn’t quite make the mark and was lacking that particular waxiness of your usual flavoured ramen tamago. Nevermind that, I’m head over heels crazy about this place and am already planning my next visit.

DSC01872-01

Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

Phontastic!

wp-1457383669189.jpg

Pho Ga (Update March ’16)

We came here tonight prior to catching a movie at the Cinemaxx on the others side of the road. My brother in law originally intended to bring us to the running sushi place next door but that joint was bursting with people and no free seats were to be seen. Not having much time before the movie started we improvised and swiftly opted for their sister restaurant that cooks up a variety of Asian inspired wok stir fries, that were my definition of Asian cuisine about 8 years ago.

In the tradition of good germanized Asian food, I set my mind on ‘Ente Kross’ (crispy duck), a friend’s fitting name for a common fried-to-the-death-duck dish (not literally of course). Other than in Asia, where people love their fatty and chewy bits, Germans, in general, are not too fond of excessive fats and wobbly textures so those duck dishes are crisper than crisp, probably a bit dry yet still kinda delicious. Almost decided, I browsed my the pho bo on the menu and got indecisive again. When I am confused at a restaurant nowadays I tend to ask the staff for their recommendation given my shortlist of dishes. The lovely waitress was pretty quick in swaying me into the direction of the big bowl of piping hot Vietnamese soup, filled with lots of goodies; there were lime wedges, loads of those flat rice noodles, greens like herbs and scallions and deliciously tender beef slices. I was only missing some chili padi but they were also just one request to the waitress away.

As far as the broth goes I was pretty impressed. As always I would have wished for some more cinnamon flavor but since I mention that every single time that I am eating pho, I’m not even sure anymore if it’s actually supposed to have such a strong flavor or if it’s just in my head. The sriracha added a ubiquitous and intensifying heat to it all but the fresh chili just gave out free right hooks for my taste buds. It almost gave me the hiccups, which in my case stands for a proper chili experience and at the same time signals that I’m very close to crossing my line of tolerance. I was slurping and sweating away and felt quite happy to see such a decent bowl of pho in a place that I wouldn’t have expected it.

Dish Update March: I recently came here again during a shopping spree in town, and this time, I ordered the pho ga with chicken. I’m not 100% sure if it was the same broth, I would maybe say it was a little less intense but the chicken was just delicious; white meat that was somewhat tenderized, lightly panfried and kicking out some proper chicken aromas. A nice changeup and still healthy enough.

The place is no thrills, functional and clean but because of the open kitchen you might take a nice little food scent home with you depending where you were seated. There are tables for couples and groups with benches, meant for quick meals and not for lounging around for hours. Service is mostly nice, especially our waitress was super attentive and later even checked if I was actaually happy with my final choice. As a result of the streamlined menu, the kitchen runs very efficiently and fast and the food we had was great and cheap. You can never go wrong with an affordable delicious pho now can you? Nice one.

Get Your Grub On!

Mai Wok (open everyday)
Bertoldstr. 53
79098 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.maiwok-freiburg.de/

Momofuku Tour – Part 2.

editDSC00485

Cold Beef Ramen (Seasonal Special)

After our delicious fried-chicken-sandwich-stopover at Fuku we went just a few doors down to Momofuku Noodle Bar to have some of those tasty sounding chashu buns, our friends had been raving about while eating their crispy chicken; I love these foodies. Unfortunately, they were just about to close for their afternoon break before dinner service so we checked, when they’ll be open again and went for a little bar in the area to bridge the waiting time with some happy hour drinks. We were back at the door like 20-30minutes after they had re-opened and the place was already full and bustling with people. I must say, I came here with high hopes but very low expectations. You never really know how these hyped places turn out to be. So let’s see.

We started with a couple of beers, a few glasses of sake and some dishes to share. The spicy cucumbers were nicely done and slightly different from how I know them. Someone smashed the hell out of them and they seemed a little bit fermented, covered in that red Japanese chili pepper mix (togarashi) and some crushed almonds. Pretty nice actually. The chashu buns, the actual reason we came here for, were great. Finally, someone got that meat to bun ratio right. Two thick slices of beautifully and soft pork belly with some crunchy lightly cured cucumbers and a sticky hoisin sauce. That’s the stuff and I still regret not having tried the brisket buns too. Then came the first real surprise of the evening. I was wondering why my friend had ordered the rice cakes here and reckoned it would just take up unnecessary space in my stomach, that was reserved for that big bowl of ramen we had coming but oh my gawd, I’ll be eternally thankful to him for doing that. I don’t know how they created this texture, fry or maybe pan fry them until literally rice-crispy-crisp on the outside and teeth-sticking chewy on the inside. Then they all lay around in an absolutely insane and hard-to-define cream sauce, that was wonderfully savoury with a sweetish touch, that reminded me a bit of okonimyaki sauce. I really have to work on my palette again to become better in identifying single flavours, but for now, it was good enough for me just eating and enjoying that amazing dish. The kitchen had added even more layers of texture and flavor by sprinkling scallions, bonito flakes and tobiko over it all. The only ingredient I was indifferent about was the chicken. Anyhow, best rice cakes ever.

After this, my low expectations rose into the sky and thankfully I had the best yet coming. For the bowl, I ordered one of their seasonal summer items, a cold beef ramen dish that sounded just right for a hot day like today. The looks instantly brought back memories of Matador, with its’ perfectly rose slices of roasted beef. The meat was delicious just a bit hard to bite off from, so I ended up eating it by slice and mouthfuls. Not that I cared. The chilled or rather cold broth was light with some citrusy flavors like yuzu or ponzu. This was so refreshing that I would have actually preferred to take it outside to the street and eat it in the warm summer sun. The noodles had proper bite and bounce that reminded me of Korean Naengmyeon not only because that’s a cold dish too. Just the egg, however perfectly made, somehow felt a bit out of place to me. I loved everything about this, the unique aromas and the innovative approach of taking something traditional and transforming it into something entirely new without losing the slightest bit of awesomeness. A dish definitely in my top 3 for the year and one that makes me want to live here and see what else they come up with next.

To the Noodle Bar itself, it’s a rather simplistic and minimalist setup, with light colored wood and mainly long sharing tables, like a bar exactly. On our table getting in and out of my seat was a bit of a hassle though, climbing over other people’s bags and stuff and I also found it a bit too cold inside (having a coolish dish as well). This places is crowded and the air is bustling of chatter from a cool mixed crowd hanging around before heading out to town. Thankfully there are many more Momofuku shops and concepts for me to try out during my next trip to New York but this one’s a definite keeper. Thanks, your food made me smile today.

Get Your Grub On!

Momofuku Noodles Bar (open ever day)
171 First Avenue
New York
NY 10003
United States of America
http://momofuku.com/new-york/noodle-bar/

Last call Boston.

imageI said I was coming back here, I just didn’t know it was going to be so soon but when I told the boys where I saw some amazing looking crustaceans, a plan was made rather quickly.

This 500 grammer looked stunning, neatly arranged and cracked at the right spots for easier access. The flesh was so fresh it effortless loosened from the shell, sweet and just right, neither dry nor too raw. I actually preferred claw over tail because of its’ extra nice soft texture and dipped into that garlic lemon butter it came very close to perfect, if it would have just been a little warmer.

imageBefore the main act we also tried some of their starters. I had a ‘French Onion Soup‘ by myself as the others were stuck in traffic for quite a while and I was just starving. It was strong, rich beef stock, full of red wine flavour with a hot cheesy crouton floating in it that left me with a memorable mouth burn. When the others finally arrived we ordered the ‘Bone Marrow‘ as well, which was another win, well done, decadent buttery with some sea salt, capers and parsley. Just great. I like this place more and more, so see you there soon.

The Market Grill
208 Teok Ayer Street
Singapore 068642
Tel: +65 6221 3323
http://themarketgrill.com.sg/

Fish balls are still weird.

imageFriends came back to town for a visit after moving to the U.S. last year and to give them a proper welcome we all met at ‘San Laksa Steamboat’ down on Telok Blangah Road. I hadn’t been here before and therefore came with my old steamboat and laksa prejudices in tow.

As usual the order placing went a bit crazy and our table quickly filled up with heaps of little plates with some more and some less exciting dishes. Actually the whole thing was surprisingly delicious, the laksa broth gave it a kicker which was much more appealing then an ordinary and rather boring soup would have been and it wasn’t too heavy or creamy either and also hardly thickened up during the cooking and dipping. In terms of little dishes some of my favourites were the thin lean ‘Beef Striploin‘ (牛肉) slices, that were a big surprise and the ‘Beancurd Skin‘ (豆腐皮) which was perfectly soaking up that coconutty broth. I was also a big fan of all the greens and mushrooms we threw in and even the ‘Fish Balls‘ (鱼丸) weren’t totally horrible, the ‘Fuzhou Fish Balls‘ (福州鱼丸) in fact, the ones filled with pork mince, were actually quite tasty and nearly converted me tolerating them from now on. What honestly was super good though was the ‘Fried Fish Skin‘ which we must have re-ordered around three to four times cause everybody loved it and it disappeared as soon as the waiter let go of the plate. Crispy goodness.

San’s is a simple place in a pretty inconvenient location and with hardly any parking in front but if you want to get a nice twist on your usual steamboat experience you should make your way down here anyway. Enjoy.

San Katong Laksa 叻沙火锅海鲜馆
404 Telok Blangah Road
Singapore 098840
Tel: +65 6275 7069
http://www.sanlaksa.com.sg/