Posts Tagged ‘noodle’
Coffee art at Strand Arcade in Sydney.
Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich at Mr Stuzzichini in Hunters Hill Sydney.
Burrata and beet salad at Pendolino in Sydney.
A country lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo.
Scones at The Old Bakery Tea Rooms in Berrima.
Lunch at Vessel in Downtown Seattle.
Chocolate tasting at Northwest Chocolate Festival.
Chinatown-International District. I’m sceptical about this hyphenated neighbourhood in Seattle. It was eerily quiet on Chinese New Year (農曆新年) last year. The streets were devoid of people and absent of colour. There were no red lanterns, no auspicious posters and no lion dances. It was a forlorn hour as I wandered up and down King Street.
In contrast we were greeted by a cacophony of sounds at Dragon Fest last month. Dull drums and sharp cymbals reverberated through the crowds as the nimble lion pranced and leaped. We were there for the $2 Food Walk to sample the multicultural eateries. Sea Garden (一定好) was last on our list and their salt and pepper chicken wings were a highlight.
I return for weekday lunch the next week and shared four items between the three of us. The walls were painted a drab olive green, and the dining room was furnished with laminate tables and wooden chairs.
Thickened by corn starch, morsels of tofu and shiitake mushrooms were suspended in the savoury bowl of complimentary soup.
A tangled mess of egg noodles were crispy on the bottom and topped with brown sauce. The pork and bean sprout chow mein (肉絲炒麵) was a hearty and toothsome dish.
A neon orange, the sweet and sour pork (咕嚕肉) was sticky and bold. Chunks of tender pork were tossed in a sugary and vinegary syrup.
These six crescents were deep fried prawns (炸蝦球). Similar to beer battered fish, the prawns had an airy coating and were dipped in plum sauce.
Last was eggplant Sichuan style with minced meat (魚香茄子). Silky and spicy, its richness was tempered with plain rice.
The Chinese name of Sea Garden aptly translates to ‘certainly or definitely good’.
Face masks and hair nets are synonymous with Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) in Sydney. Cooks are in silent huddles in the open kitchen, kneading dough and pleating dumplings (餃子). The public display of food safety is commendable but I feel awkward staring at the staff.
The signature spectacle is also at Din Tai Fung in Bellevue. Patrons can watch each step of the dumpling making process as each dumpling is rotated through several pairs of hands. Sans face masks and hair nets, brows are knitted in concentration and nimble fingers pinched and pressed.
Located in Lincoln Square, Din Tai Fung has a modern and spacious dining room. You may have to queue for a table during peak times but the maître d’ is excellent at estimating the wait and you can while away the minutes learning the art of dumplings!
Our group of four were seated in a comfortable booth. Each table has a condiments tray with bottles of soy sauce and vinegar, and a jar of chilli sauce.
The laminated menu has photos for reference and you can tick the items on the order sheet. Sweet and sour spareribs (排骨) whetted our appetite. More sweet than sour, these unctuous morsels were coated in a sticky marinade.
Famous for their soup dumplings (小籠包), ten xiao long bao were steamed in a bamboo basket. Dipped in vinegar to balance their richness, the delicate dumplings were savoured for their liquid centres.
Beneath the cloudy broth were prawn and pork wontons (雲吞). A popular meal with noodles in Cantonese cafés (茶餐廳), the silky wrapper encased a meaty filling. It was simple comfort food.
My favourite dish at Din Tai Fung is the spicy prawn and pork dumplings. Boiled wontons were tossed in a luscious sauce, each mouthful pungent and fiery.
Slippery strands of egg noodles were stir-fried with Napa cabbage (黃芽白), spinach and prawns for a toothsome plate of carbs.
Garlicky batons of green beans were bright and crunchy.
Dessert was a mango smoothie with tapioca pearls. An icy, fruity blend, it was a refreshing beverage.
And they have dessert dumplings too!
It was a pleasant May in Seattle. I did not feel sodden as I did last spring and we were blessed with many glorious days as a prelude to the northern summer. On a pleasant Saturday we enjoyed apéritifs at Tavern Law and sauntered down to Momiji (紅葉) for dinner with a group of Australian expats and tourists.
With the exception of the wide street frontage, the layout of Momiji is the same as Umi’s. A corridor opened to a spacious dining room. The counter had a prime view of the sushi chefs deftly slicing sashimi and shaping nigiri.
At the centre was a serene Japanese garden.
We ordered an array of dishes among the seven of us. First was ahi pokē. Diced ahi tuna and cucumber were tossed with onion slivers, shichimi (Japanese seasoning), soy sauce and sesame seeds. The first time I ate pokē was at a Flying Fish cooking class. A Hawaiian salad, it had a luscious contrast of textures.
A plate of prawn and vegetable tempura was coated in a lumpy batter and pleasingly crunchy.
Poached beets, and a mound of arugula and shiso were drizzled with lemon vinaigrette.
Portions of grilled king crab was paired with ponzu dipping sauce and mixed greens. A generous serving, the crustacean was charred and meaty.
Soft shell crabs were pan fried to golden brown. The spindly morsels were sweet and succulent.
Wrinkled and charred, the half dozen prawn and scallop gyoza were juicy parcels of seafood encased in a thin wrapper.
Buckwheat noodles were stir-fried with cubes of tofu and an assortment of vegetables. Garnished with green onions, pickles and nori, the triangular bowl of yakisoba was a symphony of flavours.
With casual ambience and quality ingredients, Momiji is a delicious addition to 12th Avenue in Capitol Hill.
I’ve never owned a car. I’ve always lived in cities with an integrated public transport system where it’s cheap and convenient to navigate work and play on buses, ferries and trains. By American standard, Seattle has an adequate (and expanding) network of buses and light rail. The one exception that has foiled me time and again is getting to the University District from Downtown. There is no direct bus route! Thankfully generous friends have driven me there for meals at Shun (sadly closed), and iced chocolates at Fran’s. We deviated from routine a couple of weeks ago for lunch at U:Don.
A ‘fresh Japanese noodle station’, there was a sign at the entrance outlining the order process.
There were eight styles of udon on the menu in three sizes.
An extensive list of tempura and sides were neatly written on a chalkboard.
Black and white prints, red accent walls and birch furniture, the dining room was minimally modern. We watched the chef dunk and scoop udon and customise the bowl, and like a cafeteria, slid the tray along to select tempura and sides which were priced per item.
I gripped my tray tightly and perched precariously on the square stool. In a steaming dashi broth, my udon was garnished with grated daikon and ginger, green onions and shredded nori, and topped with an ontama (coddled egg). The broth was light and clear, and the house made noodles firm.
Kakiage, a vegetable tempura fritter, had starchy strips of root vegetables and cauliflower florets. I love eggplant but the fanned wedge was a little raw.
It was a speedy experience at U:Don!
Listed alphabetically by state, Joe’s Shanghai (鹿鳴春) was in the New York section of CNN’s ‘50 best Chinese restaurants in the United States‘. In the same block as Momofuku Má Pêche and Momofuku Milk Bar in Midtown, Joe’s Shanghai is a double storey ‘centre of exotic specialties’.
I signalled a table for one and was ushered upstairs. Bronze deer and potted bamboos decorated the bay window. A tiered sparkling gold and crystal chandelier was suspended above the vestibule.
A curious specials menu included New Zealand mussels, T-bone steak and rack of lamb.
A mound of cold egg noodles was drizzled with sesame dressing, topped with julienned cucumber and served in a scallop shell shaped dish. I slurped the cold sesame noodles (芝麻冷麵), a simple but appetizing celebration of Chinese carbs.
The traditional trio of ginger slivers, soy sauce and vinegar were stirred in a bowl for dipping.
Joe’s Shanghai is famous for their soup dumplings. Six crab and pork xiao long bao (蟹粉小籠包) were on a bed of shredded Napa cabbage (黃芽白) in a steaming bamboo basket. The delicate morsels were juicy and meaty, although the skin was a little doughy.
Noodles and dumplings were requisite sustenance for shopping in Manhattan!
There is a popular Malaysian eatery in Sydney with queues on the footpath day and night. We time our meals at Mamak to avoid the crowd by dining early or late. Mamak is famous for their roti. The street frontage has a wide window with a view into the kitchen where chefs efficiently stretch and twirl the pale unleavened dough. It is oiled and seasoned, cooked on the searing griddle where it blisters and colours, and morphs into flaky bread.
We haven’t had Malaysian cuisine since we’ve been in Seattle and I suggested dinner at Malay Satay Hut when we were in Redmond on a weeknight. Located in the Overlake East Shopping Centre, a familiar ‘congee, noodles, rice’ neon sign greeted us.
We walk through a thatched hut entrance into a spacious dining room. A bamboo roof shaded the bar.
A large poster of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur decorated the wall.
A whiteboard listed many specials. The gung pao frog legs and Milo ice piqued my interest!
Photos of Malaysian ingredients introduced the menu.
Singha, a Thai lager, was a refreshing contrast to the strong flavours of the food.
We ordered several dishes to share family style. Roti telur, slivers of sautéed onions were folded in golden layers of roti and dipped in a bowl of curry.
The restaurant’s namesake and signature appetiser, the satay chicken was a highlight. Slathered in chunky slurry of satay, the skewered chicken was tender and smoky. The cucumber nuggets emptied the satay bowl.
Half a Hainanese chicken was served with chilli and ginger sauces. Poached in stock, the boned poultry was fragrant and succulent.
String beans and shelled prawns were stir-fried in belecan (fermented shrimp paste). A peculiar umami taste, the beans were vibrant and the prawns toothsome.
A mound of coconut fried rice was studded with prawns and onions, and flecked with egg. The generous portion was light and aromatic.
To me Malay fare is synonymous with char kway teow. In a miniature wok was flat rice noodles tossed with bean sprouts, chives and egg. Supple strands intertwined with threads of vegetables.
Salt and pepper squid is an Asian staple. Crusted in a delicate batter, the pieces of molluscs yielded to bite, and was spiked with chilli and green onions.
I’m pleased that the original Malay Satay Hut is in Seattle!
I have lamented the lack of authentic Chinese food in Seattle. I was pleased with Chiang’s and love the consistency of Din Tai Fung but I really miss yum cha (飲茶), the traditional Cantonese lunch of dim sum (點心). I was adamant that Seattleites have to travel north to Richmond in Vancouver for variety and quality until Shirley introduced me to Jade Garden (翠苑酒家).
Regal in red, a festive cartoon dragon (龍年) denoted the Lunar New Year (農曆新年).
A school size chalkboard listed the daily specials in calligraphy (English) and scrawl (Chinese).
As with many Chinese restaurants, the interior is austere. Drab walls, plain tables, sturdy chairs, chipped china and Lazy Susans are the standard! Jade Garden is a labyrinth of dining rooms. When I was directed to our table at the back I thought I had to walk through the kitchen!
A card was stamped to record orders from the carts.
The condiments (醬油) tray consisted of salt and pepper shakers, soy and vinegar bottles, and a mysterious stainless steel container.
Shirley explained that it’s the homemade chilli sauce (辣椒醬) which was a well blended paste.
Stacked high with steaming bamboo baskets, ladies (and it’s always ladies) wheeled carts to hawk their dumplings. First were pork and prawn dumplings (燒賣). Minced pork, prawn and shiitake mushroom (冬菇) are lumped in a thin wrapper and dotted with roe. These were a tender version of the meaty morsels.
The other classic was prawn dumplings (蝦餃). Translucent and pleated, the starchy wrapper encased chunks of succulent prawns. The skin was a little thick and I doused these in the homemade chilli sauce.
These beige blobs were deceptive in appearance. We happily slurped the fragrant broth of the soup dumplings (小籠包).
Tinged with green, the prawn and chive dumplings are a variation of prawn dumplings.
Similarly, the prawn and crab dumplings had mounds of shredded crab on top of the wrappers.
Fried food was next. These awkward objects were taro dumplings (芋角). The puffed taro outer shell was crispy, crumbling at each bite, contrasting with the porky texture inside.
Golden and football shaped, these mochi like dumplings (鹹水角) had a glutinous, sticky coating. Its sweetness contrasted with the salty filling.
The final savoury selection was stir-fried noodles (炒麵). Curly thin noodles were tossed with bean sprouts and chives, a homely vegetarian dish.
Rolled in sesame seeds, these mochi balls with lotus seed paste (蓮蓉煎堆) were nutty and chewy.
And finally my favourite Chinese dessert, custard tarts (蛋撻). Traditionally baked in a flaky crust with an intense, creamy set custard, these are best savoured fresh from the oven.
The more the merrier for yum cha!
A brightly lit room was full of diners. In the back corner was a window into the kitchen where a chef kneaded dough, and stretched, cut and shaved noodles with much concentration and solemnity.
We ordered two dishes to share. First was pork pan fried dumplings (猪肉水煎包). Huddled together with golden crisp bottoms, these dense morsels were juicy, meaty and well seasoned. A dozen of these were too much for the four of us at the end of a day of eating and we were happy to pack the remainder in a container to savour the next day.
The second plate was hand shaved noodles with lamb flavoured with cumin (孜然口味炒羊肉手拉面). This was symphony on a plate. It was stir-fried with wok breath (鑊氣), the handmade noodles tangled with a mass of bean sprouts, studded with broccoli florets and strips of tender lamb were pungent with cumin. It was hearty comfort food.
The only Malaysian eatery I know of in Seattle is Malay Satay Hut. It’s been on the list for a while but I’m yet to make the drive to Redmond (and Portland too!) or walk to Chinatown for their traditional Malaysian fare. I was delighted that Banana Leaf was the penultimate restaurant on the Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) schedule.
Emerald wall, tangerine window frames and daffodil sign, the colourful street frontage was a contrast to the wooden interior.
The specials chalkboard piqued our interest as we waited for a table.
I always imagine a chef wielding a machete in the kitchen to slice a lid on the fresh coconut when I order one!
We sipped cocktails and coconut juice as we perused the extensive menu of curries, rice, noodles, stir-fries, seafood, salads and soups. We selected three classic dishes to share.
Roti canai, warm flaky flatbread, was served with a side of light dhal.
Glistening pieces of Hainanese chicken (海南雞飯) was surrounded by a moat of sliced cucumber and garnished with sprigs of coriander. Toasted peanuts, grated ginger, chilli garlic sauce and soy sauce were condiments. The tender meat was fragrant, the essence of the stock the chicken was poached in. The delicious comfort food was dipped in the sauces and paired with Hainanese rice.
A popular fast food at hawker stalls, char kway teow could be considered the national dish of Malaysia. Flat rice noodles were tossed with sweet soy sauce, chilli, egg, bean sprouts, prawns, fish cakes and squid. We happily nibbled on the starchy stir-fry.
I must get to Malay Satay Hut this year!