Friday, May 07, 2010

Cart Life

Whether it be street meats, street eats, hole in the wall finds or off the beaten path foodie places; there's just something awesome about the offerings one may find outside of a 'restaurant'.

Life is so much more interesting when food comes from a cart.

Not every cart is made equal or rather, not all food from a cart is great obviously.

But there's one thing you cannot deny: variety and NYC's great for that.

Joining a list of carts or trucks we frequent or have tried, we are adding the newly opened Korean Noodle Cart on 49th between 6th and 7th to the list.

 Wha'? An Asian in the line?

Like any good Korean or Asian eatery, the cart is made of up pure shade.

It's not the sort of shade that shields you from the sun, no.

It serves ramen, udon and soba noodles.

The ramen is what makes it shady.

For about $1.29 not including the money it costs to go to the Asian supermarket, I could buy a pack of ramen and cook it at home.

For $7 and up, I can have this Korean purveyor of the cart cook it for me, and add something like a dumpling if I wanted it.


It's not hand-pulled ramen made with love.

It's factory-made ramen that I've been buying for the past 10 plus years.

 Look on top! Familiar red packets of noodles...
you also can't see it here but he's got a stove set up
and little pots in which to cook the ramen.
It's the equivalent to eating at home 
but I'm in the sun, and someone else is making it for me.

I can tell you that I am appalled and intrigued at the same time by this cart.

Luckily I had enough sense to not give in to my constant ramen cravings and went with something a little bit different: the ja jangmyeon.

I am a person who sees something with Asian black beans in it and gets a little bit carried away.

The ja jangmyeon description involved a black bean sauce over noodles.  I was delighted to see that the noodles came from your generic supermarket packed cold noodles, which were then boiled.  Over the noodles went the Jajangmyeon.

It was not until I got back to my desk that I discovered the awful truth having not ordered this for myself before, or being only familiar with its pre-made and pre-packaged ramen-flavoured counterpart..


Billions of onions.

I can say that the noodle dish smelt really good, and that the taste was not bad.  I would not eat the onions though.  They seemed too 'raw' for me to consume.

Well, that's my experience with my one dish I tried.  Chances are I won't be back here anytime soon but the Ramen Force is strong.  It keeps calling me!

What I have not yet addressed is my experience at the Cart.  Other than being in the hot sun, I was surrounded by nerds.  Not the good kind of nerd as yours truly but the kind of nerd that fancies himself/herself privileged and is owed the world, and a know-it-all.  The kind of nerd that is awkward and has no social behaviour.  It's the kind of nerd that's somewhat hipster like in behaviour and downright annoying.

Come now, you know the kind! They went to your college with you and thought they knew everything about Japanese culture (and that Japanese culture was the ONLY Asian culture around or worth knowing), whined that they were the outcasts of college but then judged you and made YOU an outcast because you didn't do role-playing gaming.

Sadly that's the kind of crowd I expect at the cart which upsets me.  I did see that one Asian in the line and I was confused.

I suspect she was like me - you hear noodles and you just have to go to scope out the situation.

The other thing I'd like to point out, although I did not get a comparison picture, is that the cart itself was miniature.

It was not the same height as the carts next to it but it just looked odd.  It cracked me up.

Currently listening to: "The Lonely Shepherd" by Zamfir, from The Kill Bill Original Soundtrack.  I wish we still had our Zamfir collection...

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