Noo­dles & chill: Who’s serv­ing up cool fare for sum­mer?

From matcha soba to icy, spicy Korean cold noo­dles, here’s what we’re slurp­ing this sea­son

Village Post - - Food - By Jes­sica Wei

Although plenty of sweet icy treats abound in this city, from gourmet Pop­si­cles to ni­tro ice cream, there are cu­ri­ously few savoury chilled meals in North Amer­i­can cul­ture. For many, cool menu items pretty much stop at sal­ads and gaz­pa­cho; how­ever, the Chi­nese, Ja­panese and Kore­ans have been bat­tling hot cli­mates with cold noo­dles for gen­er­a­tions. From chilled ar­row­root noo­dles served in bowls of iced broth to springy rice ver­sions coated in se­same and chili oil, there’s a wide va­ri­ety of icy, salty, vine­gary and spicy noods to try this sum­mer. Here are three types of cold noo­dles you can en­joy in the city.

Liangpi, north­ern China’s coolest street eat

A pop­u­lar north­ern Chi­nese street food, liangpi, which trans­lates into “cold skin noo­dles” (for its rub­bery tex­ture), is a spicy, tangy, vine­gary heap of thick tagli­atelle-shaped cold noo­dles made from steam­ing the starch that has been separated from rice flour and wa­ter. Served in a sauce of se­same seeds, soy sauce, chili pep­per and black vine­gar and topped with a hand­ful of shred­ded cu­cum­ber, black se­same paste, smashed gar­lic and bean sprouts, liangpi is a sat­is­fy­ingly light meal. Ar­ti­san Noo­dle (5421 Yonge St.) is a tiny restau­rant in Wil­low­dale that spe­cial­izes in Xi’An-style street food. Their Xi’An combo comes with a bowl of liangpi, a pork jia-mo (a Chi­nese shred­ded pork belly sand­wich) and an or­ange soda.

Hot and cold Korean Naengmyeon

Served in a metal bowl to keep the tem­per­a­ture of the food down, naengmyeon is a beloved cold noo­dle dish made with ar­row­root flour. Often served with pick­led radish, Korean pear, cu­cum­bers and a boiled egg, the noo­dles are thin and long (often scis­sors are pro­vided to cut them to a man­age­able length) and gummy in tex­ture. There are two kinds: mul naengmyeon, which comes in an icy broth, and bibim naengmyeon, which is mostly dry, doused in a red chili paste sauce, called gochu­jang, and served with a bowl of room tem­per­a­ture broth on the side. Thorn­hill’s Cho Sun Ok (7353 Yonge St.) is known for its ex­ten­sive menu of naengmyeon as well as its fiery home­made red pep­per sauce.

Ja­panese Soba beats your salad any day

Likely the most well-known type of cold noo­dle in North Amer­ica, due to their ver­sa­til­ity and nutri­tional value, Ja­panese buck­wheat noo­dles are a soft, chewy sta­ple served both hot in the win­ter and cold in the sum­mer, ei­ther with a broth of dashi on the side or dressed. Matcha soba has been mak­ing the rounds in Toronto, show­ing up on menus at Kasa Moto (115 Yorkville Ave.), topped with shi­itake mush­rooms, cu­cum­ber and shishito dress­ing, as well as at the up­town Tsu­jiri (4909 Yonge St.). For an au­then­tic taste, Ichiriki (120 Bloor St. E.) turns out plates of hand­made Edostyle soba on Tues­days start­ing in late June.

Kasa Moto’s tangy and cool matcha soba in shishito dress­ing

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