Ultra-Chewy Noodles at Potato Noodle Soup of Bai

Potato Noodle Soup of BaiLocation: 4350 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Website: None

I’ve had a lot of noodles over the course of my life, but — until now — I don’t think I’d ever tried potato noodles.

As the name implies, potato noodles are made with potato starch, which gives them a much, much chewier consistency than the norm.

Though I’ve heard good things about the cold noodles Potato Noodle Soup of Bai, I decided to go with the noodle soup — mostly because “noodle soup” is right there in the name.

Potato Noodle Soup of Bai

I got the plain potato noodle soup, which comes with noodles, meatballs, fish balls, half an egg, and various odds and ends in a fiery broth.

The noodles are really interesting.  There’s a Korean dish called jjolmyeon that features noodles that are so incredibly chewy you have to cut them with scissors before you start eating.  These kind of reminded me of a thicker, slightly less chewy version of those.

Potato Noodle Soup of Bai

The broth was a bit saltier than I’d like, but it was otherwise quite tasty, with a spicy kick and an almost creamy richness that you only get from a stock that’s been simmered for a long, long time.

The whole thing was fairly tasty, though with Sun’s Kitchen just a few steps away, I don’t know that I’d ever eat here again.

Above Average Ramen at Ramen Misoya

Ramen Misoya
Location
: 646 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.ramenmisoya.ca/

I don’t need a whole lot to convince me to try a new ramen joint.  Ramen Misoya is a Japanese ramen chain that’s been featured in the Michelin guide, with locations all over the world.

Michelin-featured ramen?  That’s pretty much all I need to hear.  I’m sold.

Ramen Misoya

(Though the last Michelin-adjacent ramen joint that opened in Toronto, Konjiki Ramen, was pretty disappointing.)

I ordered the gold kome special, which is a pork- and miso-based soup that comes with chasu, half an egg, ground pork, and a couple of potato wedges.

Ramen Misoya

It’s a solid bowl of ramen. The broth has a decent amount of complexity; it’s got a porky richness and a nice miso flavour, and it’s livened up by a mild gingery and garlicky bite. The level of salt is a bit too intense, but it’s otherwise above average.

The noodles were also quite satisfying, with a perfect thickness and a nice firm texture.

Ramen Misoya

The add-ins, sadly, were hit-and-miss. The egg was tasty, with a great gooey yolk.  But the chasu was so tough I could barely even bite through it, and had a vaguely gamy flavour.

The potato wedges were just weird; even if these had been perfect I’m not sure they would have worked.  And they were undercooked and crunchy, so they definitely didn’t work.

A Different Noodle Experience at Dagu Rice Noodle

Dagu Rice NoodleLocation: 505 Highway 7, Thornhill
Websitehttp://daguricenoodle.ca/

There are a couple of things that make Dagu Rice Noodle stand out from the typical bowl of Chinese noodle soup that you’ll find in the city.

The first is right there in the name: they use rice noodles, which are quite different than the standard noodles made with regular flour.  They’re a bit softer, with a slightly gummy, chewy texture.  I think standard noodles are a bit more satisfying, but there’s definitely nothing wrong with what they’re serving here.

Dagu Rice Noodle

The other thing that sets it apart?  It comes in a Korean-style super-hot stone bowl; it’s a bubbling inferno.  Honestly, this kind of baffles me.  I’ll admit that I generally don’t like my food to be piping hot (if it’s so hot that you’re at risk of burning yourself, then it’s too hot.  No thanks), so I guess I’m not the target audience here.  But I just don’t understand what the benefit is to serving any food so hot you can’t safely eat it.

Dagu Rice Noodle

I suppose I should mention what the soup actually was.  I ordered their signature noodle soup, which comes with braised pork, various sausagey meats, as well as a bunch of vegetables.

The super tender pork was probably the highlight.  It was very similar to what you’ll find in a bowl of Korean pork bone soup, and it was full of meaty fall-off-the-bone goodness.

Dagu Rice Noodle

Everything else was fine.  The broth was kinda one-note salty, but was immeasurably improved with the chili oil they’ve got on the table.  The whole thing was enjoyable enough, but it’s probably not something I’d get again.

Chewy, Hand-Pulled Noodles at Sun’s Kitchen

Sun's KitchenLocation: 4300 Steeles Avenue East, Markham (inside Pacific Mall)
Website: None

There are few things that are more satisfying than a really good bowl of chewy, hand-made noodles.  And Sun’s Kitchen in the Pacific Mall definitely knows how to do it.

If you come at the right time, you can see the noodle maker doing his thing; he pulls the dough again and again and again until a thick piece becomes a handful of noodles, almost as if by magic.  It’s the work of a man who has clearly spent years mastering his craft, and it’s a sight that’s as hypnotic as it is impressive.

Sun's Kitchen

I’ve been here at least a dozen times, and I order the same thing every time: noodles with spicy pork.  I’m occasionally tempted to order something else, but the spicy pork is so damn good, and I don’t come here enough to mess around.

It’s an exceptionally simple dish; it’s just spicy ground pork, a whole bunch of noodles, and some sliced cucumber to cut the richness and the heat of the pork.

It’s outstanding.  The pork is salty, spicy, and intense.  It’s the perfect foil for the amazingly chewy noodles.

It comes with a cup of sweet, citrusy soy milk.  I didn’t like it at first, but now I can’t get enough.  It also comes with a bowl of bland soup that I’m not crazy about.  I keep meaning to tell them to hold the soup, but I always forget.

Scratching my Head at Konjiki Ramen

Konjiki Ramen
Location
: 5051 Yonge Street, North York
Websitehttps://konjikiramen.com/

I think ramen might just be my favourite food on the planet.  Burgers are obviously a strong contender, but there’s something about a truly great bowl of ramen that’s incomparable.

That’s why the ramen at Konjiki — a seriously acclaimed Tokyo ramen joint that has just opened their first outpost in Canada — was so disappointing.  Their specialty is ramen made with clam, shellfish, chicken and pork.  I was exceptionally excited to try it.

You can either get shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce); I went with shoyu, which was clearly a mistake.  The flavour was all salty soy sauce, which completely wipes out all of the nuances from the broth.

https://tastyburgers.ca/

The thing that’s so irresistible about a great bowl of ramen is how complex it is; it feels like you’re discovering something new with every mouthful.  But there was nothing new to discover here after the first slurp.  It certainly wasn’t bad, but the first sip was exactly the same as the last.

The noodles were quite good, at least, with a satisfying chewiness.  The texture was slightly off in a way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but that’s a minor complaint.

The chasu, on the other hand, wasn’t great.  It was super dry, and just didn’t add much to the bowl.

I also tried the gyoza (which were pork, shrimp, and cabbage dumplings) and the karaage (fried chicken), and they were both tasty, if nothing particularly mind-blowing.

Konjiki Ramen

I should also note that there were some service issues.  I was with a group of four, and two bowls of ramen came fairly quickly.  The other two took an extra fifteen minutes to arrive.  The waitress was extremely apologetic once she realized what was happening, and I got a free egg out of the deal (which was nicely cooked, with a gooey, just-barely-set yolk — but like the ramen itself, it was too salty).

Overall, not the greatest experience ever, and certainly not worth waiting for when there are several other ramen joints right nearby.