I came, I saw, I slurped it all
2018 Noodlemania Review
Every time I attend Noodlemania I bring three things with me – an appetite, tupperware and most important of all, elastic-waisted pants because I know that by the end of the Noodlemania event, I’ll be waddling home from the sheer weight of all I’ve eaten as one never goes hungry at this noodlicious Noodlemania event.
Dragonwell Green Tea paired with a toast (photo from another event)
Registration was at Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe where we enjoyed samples of their tea. The Mink Majik Tea was actually a light blue colour and had a mint taste to it that I liked while the Dragonwell Green Tea which apparently is of even higher grade than most green tea from China, had a pleasant light body. Pair one of their teas with one of their toasts such as Haidacore Albacore tuna (Poke style with sesame-spinach and Dragonwell Salad) or Truffled Ricotta & Hazelnuts (sundried tangerine & pu’er honeywhich) which I can vouch are delicious as I had them at one of Vancouver Foodster’s Brunch Crawls (pictured above).
Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe also sells tea online and if you go to their website, you can sign up to get a coupon for 20% off for shopping online. For the summertime, order the Raspberry Creme as it makes a great cold refreshing iced tea.
Spaghetti Alla Vongole and Rigatoni Pomodor & Basil Lingini
Robba Da Matti used to be called Yaletown L’antipasto and they’ve been featured at many of Richard Wolak’s Tasting Plates events where their dishes never disappoint. Both the Spaghetti Alla Vongole and Rigatoni Pomodor & Basil Linguini were right on point with the pasta cooked al dente and sauces flavourful with fragrant Italian spices such as basil and oregano. But my favorite dish is still the Pappardelle Rosche Rosche which has chicken & italian sausages and short ribs which really highlights this delightful cozy Italian bistro and one day I might just make it back for an actual meal if I ever have a break from media events. They do have a Date Night Special (Sunday to Thursday $99, Friday and Saturday $109) where you choose any 2 antipasti or either the Yaletown Antipasto or prosciutto & burrata to share, any pasta or risotto each, 1 dessert to share & 1 bottle of either Nespolino Sangiovese or Langaria Pinot Grigio.
Flower and Horse in Spring
1741 Robson St, Vancouver
Cuisine: Yunnan style of Chinese cuisine
Yunnan style specialty noodles with broth
Out of all of the bowls in the world and you just had to land in mine. The first dish we were served at Flower and Horse in Spring here were my favorite as the Yunnan Style Specialty Noodles were my favorite as the hot paste had a unique fkavour that was spicy without being annoying kick you in the mouth and was not in any way similar to the usual chili paste that you find on the table at all Asian establishments.
All the ingredients from the tofu, thinly diced carrots, minced meat to the light sprinkling of sesame seeds resulted in a perfect harmony of flavours and textures. The rice noodles looked like spaghettini as they were thin which absorbed more of the flavours, so the end result is that you don’t feel as though you’re overloaded on carbs as opposed to eating a bigger broad noodle. The accompanying broth was much like miso but was denser and had a more pronounced fermented soybean flavour as my Jewish/German friend who didn’t grow up with soybeans didn’t like it, as it’s a common ingredient in authentic Chinese which you develop a taste for if you had it since childhood.
The second dish, Crossing the Bridge, which is typically served to the customer with the broth and six items in different bowls so that ingredients are added to the broth immediately before eating, was served already combined, probably to save time for the Noodlemania event. This tasting plate wasn’t as flavourful as the first dish of noodles, but the broth was light and the beef was cut thin and served pinkish as it should be as it always ends up cooking a little in the hot broth. But what I should have done was add chili paste to give it that extra oomph. It was still an enjoyable bowl of noodles as the amount of noodles wasn’t overwhelming and I enjoyed the crunchy texture of the bean sprouts and raw carrots.
If you were raised up in a typical Asian household then you should put Flower and Horse in Spring on your restaurant bucket list because the familiar smells of home cooked broth and fragrant spices will make you nostalgic.
Cuisine: Taiwanese and Japanese
Scallion with Spicy Pepper Tseng Noodle and Hokkaido Miso Ramen & Teriyaki
Located just outside the Vancouver Public Library, Wasabi Noodles is a small cozy space offering Asian food at ridiculously low prices with Miso Soup at $1.00 and sushi rolls at $4.50. Here we had Spicy Pepper Tseng Noodles which weren’t that bad on their own as they had the ruffled edges and were cooked perfectly, but sadly the spicy pepper sauce wasn’t all that spicy as I thought it would be or it could be that they didn’t put enough sauce on the dish itself as the ruffled edges would have been conducive to holding sauce.
I’m sorry to report that the Hokkaido Miso Ramen & Teriyaki was my least favorite dish at the event as the broth to me tasted like something I could get in instant noodles. But when you take into consideration that the majority of their clients are probably young students who are looking for a quick bite in between studying. It’s just a basic no thrills Asian establishment offering budget eats.
You can order Pami Noodles online in various flavours such as spicy pepper, sesame and scallion and also rice noodles in mushroom or laksa
Rigatoni with Italian sauce and Orecchiette Pesto
Last but not least, we ended the night at Water Street Cafe, an establishment that’s been around since t988 and could have been the last day of operation were it not for the quick reflexes of my friend who managed to save the collapsing table and I who managed to save the sliding candle (I had images of me being unable to hobble out due to my broken leg which is still healing). Garcon another glass of wine please.
Pasta here was flavourful and my portion of Rigatoni with Italian sauce had plenty of sausage. I also liked the Orecchietto Pesto as I could I could taste crunchy bits of the pesto nuts. The photo above doesn’t do the pasta justice as its tough to shoot food inside a Chinese food container and make it look attractive. During the Noodlemania event, they had wine specials for $5.00 which we had as it was our last stop and as we were in a separate room on the second floor, we had a lovely view of Gastown to enjoy as we sipped our wine.