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Food: Asian Noodle Nations

There's something about a warm bowl of brothy soup that warms not just my stomach, but also my heart. It reminds me of home, of home-cooked food. As cliche as it sounds, I miss home-cooked meals because they are often made with a dash of concern, a splash of worry, and a large dollop of love.

Pan Mee with signature dried anchovies, clear broth soup and fresh vegetables

Unsurprisingly, most Asian countries have their own signature bowl of noodles. And it's unbelievable how our ancestors used to make them, toiling over the mixture, pushing, pulling, kneading, prodding, and sometimes (and I've honestly seen this on TV, I swear) squashing the sh*t out of the noodles with poles and wooden GodKnowsWhat apparatus. 

Those traditional methods, however, have no way of surviving the assault of modern machinery. Most noodles are squished out of a machine these days and, if I were to be honest, they're great too. I love noodles. XD

Even in this day and age, (bhan) pan mee comes in different shapes and sizes. They still offer thin or thick noodles, or (what we colloquially call) torn type of noodles. The torn-type is not even noodles anymore and I suspect it was a result of someone being too lazy (too busy, maybe) to cut their wheat noodles up into tiny strings. Someone must have seen that and went "Yo, that works too and who needs stick-thin noodles, anyway". 

Just douse it with delicious sauces, herbs, spices, fresh fruits off the tree in your garden and viola...food. Eat.

Here's Anthony Bourdain, my forever-favorite-chef-author-TVpersonality-human, beating jetlag with a simple dish of whatever it was he was having and char kuey teow.



What makes Asian noodle dishes different from its Western counterparts is the fact that Asians tend to make use of whatever was coming out of the ground next to their kitchen, fertilized by their house cat. And even with such geographical proximity, the types of noodles from Thailand is very different from the ones from...say, Indonesia. 

Vietnamese beef noodles with loads of fresh vegetables

I don't gamble but I'd wager that everyone's at least tried some Chinese-style noodle. Come on...wan tan mee, pan mee, dan dan noodles? Did I hit at least one?

And with the K-Pop and K-Drama scene being all-the-rage right now, I'm pretty sure you've ventured a little bit outside of the Korean BBQ scene. Please tell me you have. Well, if you've not, write this down and try ordering it the next time you're in a Korean restaurant...JapChae.

For those who think that Asians like to complicate their noodle dishes, you have no idea what is going through the mind of an Itamae. The sushi chef with that gleaming knife standing behind the counter with a fresh fish corpse in front of him/her.

My favorite, prawn mee with a large dollop of fragrant, sambal chili paste

Somehow, except for chop suey (which is technically an Asian-Western hybrid food), Vietnamese pho seemed to be the first to have a foot out the door in the global culinary scene. People were dazzled with the sheer jumble of accompaniments and condiments that went into one bowl of soupy noodle. Asian noodles are often a riot.

For some reason, my kids are totally not into Vietnamese noodle soup because no matter how many times we tell them to hold off on the coriander and mint leaves, they don't. I guess it won't be Vietnamese noodles without these herbs...and they might be right.

It's like asking an Asian to hold off on the soy sauce. Like what did you just say?! 😂

It's Monday. Need I say more? OK. Meh.

Love,
Marsha

Want to find out more about Asians and their noodles, here's a good write-up about the 10 most popular noodle dishes from across Asia

Note: If you find any grammatical or factual error in this article, let me know and I'll have it corrected as soon as I humanly can. And thank you. 

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