Happy World Noodle Day! All hail the power of noodles. 6th of October is world noodle day, the day that the world can celebrate noodles in all their glory. For who would have thought that something so simple could be so loved by diners all over the world? People across the globe are united in their love for this staple dish. Undoubtedly, the epicenter for this culinary gem is Asia. There is an unrivalled love between Asians and noodles, given how the dish is a staple part of the diet. Noodles are cheap, delicious and versatile. Consequently, the power of the noodles to captivate diners is limitless. Rich and poor can come together to marvel at the latest celebrated chef concoction with noodles proving to be unmatched as a tasty, effective base. Indeed, noodles can be utilized in a variety of ways. For example, noodle soups are extremely popular. Who doesn’t like soup?
First, let’s take a step through time to recount the history of noodles. The word noodle derives from the German word nudel. Despite our best perceptions that noodles were discovered at 3am in a city takeaway joint, the facts beg to differ. However, 3am noodle boxes really do deserve their universal high acclaim! The story for noodles is long and illustrious. Noodles have been around for 4,000 years and were first discovered in China. This delicious recipe was handed down through the generations with the taste improved as each chef worked their own magic. Esteemed archaeologists have had the pleasure of validating this claim since 2002. Archaeologists working on the Yellow River in China had the unwitting pleasure of finding an earthenware bowl containing 4,000 year old noodles. These noodles were well preserved and allow us to bask in the glorious past. The great people of China have been blessed with noodles and it is up to the rest of the world to bask in their tradition on October 6th.
We HEART Noodles
The reasons for the universal love of noodles are plenty. The cheap cost of noodles must be the primary reason for their popularity. The working classes have relied on noodles to power their day and give them the strength to continue working. Workers who are struggling for funds can easily heat up noodles to provide a nutritious, high-calorie lunch. The ease of cooking is also a bonus. Each delicious curry would not be complete without a staple carb. The age old debate of rice versus noodle as the best base for your favorite curry will continue for the rest of time. It must be noted though that in my humble opinion noodles win each day. Noodles offer endless possibilities in preparation and do not even compare to rice when considering the variety of textures on offer.
As we move onto the details of noodles, deeper investigation reveals the complexities of this seemingly simple dish. Noodles are meticulously made by carefully rolling unleavened dough out and cutting into a desired shape. While long, flat noodles may seem to be the most common, they come in a variety of forms, names, and textures. The range in shape includes tubes, sheets, twisted, round and flat. Each noodle tastes different and offers a unique texture. Sauces and meals differ considerably when the pairing of noodle is taken into account. The uniqueness is not just linked to shape. Noodles can also be made from an assortment of flavors. Wheat, buckwheat, rice and eggs all provide exciting options for the adventurous chefs amongst us. In Asian cuisine, root vegetables are a popular addition to noodles. Examples include potatoes, yams, beans and rice. For those who are more trusting in the experts, let’s take a moment to listen to the King! Noby Matsuhisa states; “I eat soup noodles for comfort. In fact, noodles of any kind. It’s a food that is very easy to eat; it’s very soothing and comfortable, too. If I could choose any, I’d say buckwheat was my favorite: it has a very good flavor and is healthy, too.”
The reasons to love noodles are plentiful. Given the variety of noodles on offer, diners can chose to be as healthy as they want. Carb conscious health warriors can chose a low fat option. Each taste bud is different and noodles are ready to satisfy even the pickiest diner. Noodles are also fun to eat. Mastering eating noodles with chopsticks is one of life’s greatest achievement. This coming of age moment realizes every young diner’s dream of eating like a local in their favorite Asian restaurant. Until then, you must be content with your own reenactment of lady and the tramp. However, slurping noodles up like a hoover however is an instant date turn off so beware! Noodles can be made it home if skills permit. Failing this, taking a noodle making class is the best option to master your inner King Noby. Although a serious time commitment, the astonishment on your friends face when you cook up a storm will definitely make this worth the effort. Better get practicing! The founder of Black Beijing Kitchen offers the following insight about the best noodles; “It’s a toss-up between Italy and China. But that is one of the most alluring things about noodles: how varied they are. In China, you have chefs that pull the thinnest of noodles called la mian and bath them in a long-simmering beef soup with chili, coriander, and crumbles of meat; meanwhile in Italy, you have sfoglie (female pasta makers) rolling out delicate thin sheets of spinach noodles and baking them with bolognese and bechamel sauce. And both are noodles!”
Cities across the U.S. offer ample opportunities to venture into an authentic noodle restaurant. Melting pots of culture such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco offer whole neighborhoods dedicated to Asian nations. Food lovers can be transported to a noodle paradise. Taking the subway or jumping in the car and travelling a few blocks can save the money, time and hassle of visiting Asia. The beauty of immigration can be felt in authentic restaurants which offer diners a little corner of Shanghai, Hanoi or Tokyo in an American metropolis. Celebrating world noodle day in style by trawling through TripAdvisor to find a new Asian haunt is a noble way to spend a Saturday. As world noodle day falls on a Saturday, there is even time to travel between noodle paradises for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
By: Billy Rayfield, Contributing Author (Non-Lawyer)