Steve and I recently got introduced to the goodness that is garlic fried rice as part of breakfast in the Philippines. That said, on the same trip, we also got our fill of noodle soup. While in Siem Reap (Cambodia) we learned that this dish is a traditional breakfast food there! We partook of this wonderful thing at the hotel, several mornings: at a bar similar to a standard omelet bar, we could have a very friendly staff person take a few minutes to blanch a few bean sprouts, toss in a pile of wide or narrow noodles, then a few minutes later ladle us a cup of goodness that we could dress up with various chilies, pre-cooked meats, some tender greens, maybe a few mushrooms.
The breakfast buffet at Starry Angkor Hotel was huge – there were lots of options for people who wanted any or all of the following: pastry, raw veggies, an omelet bar, fried rice and at least one flavorful meat dish, congee (a rice version of hot cereal), white toast, tropical fruits galore, sometimes watermelon or bright green guava juice, hot tea and coffee. I think we got virtual gold star stickers form the noodle guy because we tried, then preferred, the noodles. The pasta almost sustained us for as deep into the morning as garlic rice could.
One dinner we had in that country was also full of noodle goodness. It involved a broth-filled pan on a hot plate with variable controls at the table, and two Americans not having any idea how to proceed. Thankfully someone on staff guided us through the process, loading up –deftly, with chopsticks– the broth-filled pan with the greens and protein options, then adding noodles a few minutes later. A few minutes later, we dug in. The photo at right shows the process about halfway through and please note that Steve is already smiling! We ended up stuffed, but did not, in fact, explode. We slept happy.
Steve and I continue to enjoy noodle soup as a satisfying and calming meal here in the depths of midwinter in Saint Paul, Minnesota. We finally got our butts over to the nearest Pho restaurant, Pho Saigon – and it made for a wonderful Saturday lunch.
We’ve also been exploring noodle recipes at home, lately via a cookbook we bought for ourselves, this Christmas: Isa Does It. This is another terrific cookbook from Isa Chandra Moskowitz that so far, we are loving. Soba isn’t something we saw much of in the Philippines, though I do recall a a tasty post-yoga class soba or udon noodle lunch with Kat.
Steve and I tried one of Isa’s recipes out on friends last weekend, and it was a hit. We didn’t modify it a bit (aside from adding some garlic and herbs when we cooked the lentils… and our lentils ended up a lot creamier than the ones in her photo), so I’m happy to share the full original recipe with you via Isa’s website. Hop on over to Roasty Soba Bowl with Miso Tahini, for the details.
The one pseudo-modification I offer is this: we served it right after putting out a plate of 3+ year aged Cougar Gold Cheese (a holiday gift from Mom!) and some great local cheddar-studded summer sausage that Steve picked up in a local grocery store. As such, the meal went a little further than the recipe predicts. We omnivores don’t necessarily need quite as much soba as the average vegan, per serving. It sure was tempting to load up a second serving! Leftovers made for a great lunch, the next day.
Cheers. And enjoy!