Food: a good ramen is hard to find

Sometimes some of the simplest things are the hardest to find

This is Pho me . Green Lemongrass on Kingsway
This one’s Pho me. Green Lemongrass on Kingsway.  A side of lemongrass beef shortribs.

Now that the weather is significantly cooler I’m craving a hot bowl of soup but not just any soup.  I love a good ramen and with all the Japanese restaurants we have here in Vancouver you’d think it would be so easy to find right?  Not necessarily.  Well there are a lot, but they’re not all amazing.  Maybe it’s because I became spoiled from the time I lived in Tokyo many years ago with the abundance of good noodle pitstops all over the city.  Places you just stop in and sometimes even stand at the counter to eat.  I was a regular. 

So I decided to make my own version which I’m always improving on.  It’s quite delicious and depending on my mood I switch it up from Japanese to Chinese by just varying a few of the  ingredients.  And I’ve always got the ingredients on hand except for whatever vegetables I decide to use at the last minute. Anyway

Ramen with 7 kinds of mushroom. Soooo good.
Ramen with 7 kinds of mushroom. Soooo good.

Last week I had to make a run to Richmond, B.C.  (a very high percentage of Chinese people live in Richmond so therefore all the Chinese restaurants) so I decided to look for a noodle house.  They’re a dime a dozen so eeny meenie miny mo – I found a great little spot!  I stopped at Shang Noodle House at #3 Rd. & Saba.  It was fast, fresh & fabulous! That, along with an appetizing side of dumplings in spicy sauce.  YUM.  Just don’t order the Edamame which was cold & came with a side of table salt (mind you, it’s not really a Japanese part of town). Stick with the soup & dumplings.

I was hungry and was torn between the Japanese Ramen with mushrooms, a Chinese wonton with beef noodle or the peanuty tan tan noodle.  Final decision – I made the right choice. See below:

AND it was healthy!
AND it was healthy!

Then I had to make a run out to Kingsway the next day (an area of Vancouver with many Vietnamese restaurants) and satisfied my craving for Pho.  I asked them to switch the regular chicken that came with the noodle soup to grilled lemongrass chicken – no extra charge was a bonus.

I went back to a restaurant in a little shopping mall that I remember going to before, not only because they serve great PHO (and food in general) but because they have a special live fish with personality.  Last time I was there I put my face up to the tank and the fish looked at me for a second…before spitting at me.  I think he/she even remembered me this time.  At least it appeared that way.  That fish has been there for as long as the restaurant.

What is your favourite Asian noodle soup?

p.s. If you live in Vancouver have you been out to Famous Foods? (1595 Kingsway at King Edward).  I re-discovered this privately owned grocery store that has some of the best selection of bulk and natural foods in town.  I also bought organic grass fed beef shanks & oxtail to make soup with.  For the most part the prices are pretty reasonable.  I’ll be going back more often.  They also have good bulk chocolate and some hard to find stuff. Check for in-store specials. Sometimes it’s okay to leave Kitsilano. But not for long.

Photos: d. king




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