It’s in season and here are some random facts about…
The idea of eating noodles transcends many food cultures, from Italian to eastern Europe to Japan to Chinese. They are simply delicious comfort foods, and I love them. Many people do.
Perhaps more now than ever, Waterloo Region has become enamoured of them as well. Just look around: freshly made pasta is more prevalent in the Region restaurants and there are innumerable Asian dishes which include both rice and wheat noodles. I can’t count the number of bowls of pho and ramen I have on a monthly basis. There’s a Hakka joint in Cambridge that serves Manchurian and Chinese noodle dishes with Indian flavourings and seasoning.
Noodles have been with us a long time indeed. Wheat noodles were likely made in northern China as early as 200 BCE. There is some truthiness to the concept that Marco Polo introduced noodles from the far east to the Mediterranean even though pasta had been made there long before.
Etymologically, the word noodle has only been part of our culinary lexicon since the 18th century: it likely derived from the German knodel (with an omlaut over the “o”) and the Yiddish knaidel, both referring to small dumpling-like bits of dough.
Relatively new to Waterloo — right across from Laurier U’s athletic complex — is Noodles One. The menu is huge, and the place can be packed at lunch time. The unique part (I will let you decide for yourself about the quality of the food) is that they make there “biang biang mian” — noodles that are made in the traditional art of hand-spun, hand-pulled, twirled and whirled and thumped — onomatopoeically — onto the noodle station table. From one thick rope of a single noodle, the result is many, many pho-gauge noodles that end up in your soup, for instance, as in the top photo herein.
Enjoy long noodles! Slurp ’em up for good luck and long life!