Calm down noodle cowboy. What’s the point of going to a restaurant if all you’re going to do is complain to the server every two seconds about how they made your food wrong? Here’s my theory: they didn’t make your food wrong, you just didn’t know what you were ordering. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable then somebody loudly complaining about their food when there is clearly nothing wrong with the food.
But actually it’s a problem. When I was on sabbatical I spent months learning how to cook a variety of noodle dishes so that a) I could start saving some money cause it was getting out of hand and b) because, if for some reason a couple restaurants were to go out of business my happiness would be in serious jeopardy (so I figured I should take control of my life and get it sorted).
My pad Thai is alright, my ramen is fine, My yakisoba is getting there, rice balls, all that is great. I’ve also managed to make a sort of hybrid spicy peanut garlic thing that works pretty great most of the time, although it resembles none of the dishes it was inspired by. The lack of Asian grocery stores in this city means I was only able to get chilli oil in the last week on a trip in to Vancouver (and it’s changed everything!) but there is one dish that eludes my abilities: DAN DAN NOODLES!
Every time I feel like I find a recipe I can do, it doesn’t taste like Dan Dan. It tastes like glorified itchiban. Every time I find a recipe that looks like it will taste right, it requires so much stuff I can’t purchase locally (or don’t know where to purchase locally) that I get frustrated and it sends me into the spiral of obsessing about noodles. It’s an actual problem. Maybe not in the grand scope of existence, but it certainly is annoying. I mean, okay. It’s not a problem, but it is an obsession!
I actually care more than any man should about how my itchiban, or MR noodles, or instant noodles, or ramen, or whatever, is prepared. HERE are the acceptable options for preparation and consumption of itchiban:
1) chicken itchiban, slightly undercooked, strained, with half-pack of seasoning sprinkled onto a tea-spoon of three cheese ranch dressing, mixed until coated, with a healthy amount of parmasean cheese sprinkled on top. It is the best; i call it cheap man’s alfredo. eaten with a fork. You can substitute sour cream for ranch if you’re in a pinch.
2) Chicken itchiban, made as soup, with chopped veggies; there can’t be more then half-broth, and the noodles, at time of starting-to-eat, needs to be under-cooked. They soften up as you eat. Fork, or chop sticks.
3) When it comes in a cup or a bowl that is disposable, if the cup is foam, it needs to be hot-water steeped for no more than 2 minutes and then strained. If it is a plastic bowl, it NEEDS to be microwaved. the noodles have a great texture. chop sticks guaranteed.
4) Flavour packages, in order of preference: chicken, spicy chicken, itchiban original, udon, shrimp, tom-yum (with an egg added), beef, spicy-beef, weird-asian-“cheese”-flavour.
I could keep going, but it’s making me feel like a bachelor again (not that there’s anything wrong with that… but food sure has gotten better since i’ve been married!)