Canoodling noodle thoughts

9 06 2009

I HAVE a sinful lusting after – or should it be “for”? – noodles.  Some people may find me hard to fathom – very “secretive” even – but my relationship with noodles is something that they would catch on on the get-go.  There’s just no second guessing just how much I love noodles!

Mongkok - Beef Wonton 00

Sinfully worth the lusting after...

Trust Friendship to be able to file me under the header of “noodle-lover” as she succinctly said in the Friendster testimonial she gave me epochs ago: “eNTeNG…eats a lot…loves pasta…ramen…noodles in general…”  And just moments ago, right smack in the middle of a long text message exchange, she pointed out: “By the way, naisip ko you will like the food here, madaming klaseng ramen at noodles.”  (By the way, I think you will like the food here. There are a lot of ramen and noodles.)  Friendship happens to be in Singapore right now.  And basking in the Great Singapore Sale! But I digress.

So now, while the uninterrupted merciless rains pour in abundance outside, and while the monsoon winds bang the sash of the window nearest my bed side, I keep myself warm with thoughts of my favorite noodles.  I have to say that these never fail to bring me comfort.  Even just the thought of them can put a tight, warm embrace around me in the dead cold of this night.

Since I was a kid, I’ve loved noodles – the “mami,” to be specific.  The “mami” is a Filipino-Chinese invention, the complete one pot meal.  It is a dish of usually thin egg noodles (that take care of the carbohydrates!), choice of meat (chicken, pork, or beef – that takes care of the protein), lots of vegetables (fiber and vitamins, among others), and served with generous ladles of very hot stock.  My fondest memories as a kid include looking forward to weekday afternoon trips to La Perla Restaurant where I would always ask for their Beef Mami, which to me, still remains to be the best I’ve ever had.  Too bad that they had closed shop.  There were also trips to R. Ma Mon Luk Restauranteither in Manila or in Quezon City – that I cherish till now.

So while La Perla is all just a memory.  And visits to R. Ma Mon Luk can really be out-of-the-way (for me), here are a couple of “mami” options that have become my most favorite nowadays.  These for me are the best when I want quick meals to fill up both my body and my soul.  I’m also throwing in for good measure my favorite noodle place in an international airport.

Beef Wonton Noodle Soup at Mongkok at the new Glorietta 5

I discovered this one Saturday afternoon after braving – and coming out still alive of – a two-hour traffic jam on the “parking lot” that is EDSA.  Understandably, I was so famished already so any lunch options that would have me waiting for something edible was so out of the question.  Glorietta 5 was my instant choice and as if radar-locked on a target, I went directly to The Soup Kitchen on the third level.  Just when I was about to push its glass door open, a quick flip of my weather-beaten “Prada model” bangs inadvertently trained my eyes on the name of the restaurant right across – Mongkok.

Mongkok - Beef Wonton 01

Mongkok's Beef Wonton Noodle Soup (Mami!) brings back happy childhood memories!

While the choice to gobble up my fave Hearty Vegetable Soup was the reason I went there, something about all that steam from Mongkok’s kitchen on that heavily drenched late afternoon made me reconsider my decision.  I ended up crossing over to Mongkok, and with a beaming smile, asked for a table for one.

As speed was the utmost consideration on the order of business at the moment, I asked for the Beef Wonton Noodle soup.  I didn’t have any expectations anymore on this mami – as mami is “mami.”  And I’ve been to Mongkok back when they were still at Glorietta 1.  But after my first “slurp” of the soup and my first forkful of the noodles, I just had to take a moment to let the “wonderful” experience set in.  IT WAS THAT GOOD.  I whipped out my Canon and take at least a couple of shots.  To further pay my respect to this noodle soup, I set aside my stainless steel implement and asked for chopsticks instead!

The broth was so flavorful.  However they came about with this dark–, deep– and richly hued broth, all I can say is that they are doing it right.  The beef essence was so pronounced and while the “fat” obviously glistened on the surface of the soup, it didn’t give me the impression that it would coagulate and really put my arteries to the test.  I was so famished but something inside me shifted gears to lend myself to a leisurely pace.  And given the coldness of the weather, I was surprised that that fat, indeed, didn’t solidify.

The beef brisket was really tender and the cuts I was provided had a good amount of tender – almost gelatinous – ligament and marbling of little fat.  That’s just how I love my brisket!  Having said that, I have to tell you just how much I loved the “mami” noodles Mongkok now uses!  They’re not your typical Hong Kong style egg noodles.  They’re more like really thin strips of linguine – just what angel hair is to spaghetti.  And though the noodles looked so delicate (and thin!), they were cooked to perfection!  With all due respect to its Italian kin, Mongkok’s “mami” noodles were so al dente.

The best compliment I can pay Mongkok’s Beef Brisket Wonton Noodles is that it is the only one – so far – that has brought back to mind the La Perla Beef Mami of my youth!  Sarrrappp!  That and the fact that I had to ask for a second order of the noodles (this time with the soup on the side)!

Mongkok - Beef Wonton 02

Once was not enough! - My second helping had the soup set aside. Look at those noodles!


Beef Mami “Hiwalay ang sabaw” at Kim Hiong Food Garden on Ongpin Street

I’ve raved about having this comfort “mami” at this place on my previous post Ongpin is where the heart is.  For good measure, I’m just posting here some of the pictures.

Kim Hiong Toast Beef Mami

Kim Hiong's Beef Mami "Hiwalay Ang Sabaw" (Toast Mami, Soup on the side)


Kim Hiong Toast Plain Noodle

I always ask for an order of just plain noodles!


Kim Hiong Beef Sauce

Kim Hiong's "Beef Sauce" is actually my broth of choice. I'm not really fond of the clear (yet really flavorful) soup.


Mixed Balls Noodle Soup at FOOK MING TONG TEA SHOP at the Hong Kong International Airport

As I mentioned, I’m sharing with you here my favorite noodle place at an international ariport – the Hong Kong International Airport, to be specific.

The place is called FOOK MING TONG TEA SHOP.  It is mor e like kiosk than a restaurant.  It is right beside an escalator that leads to Starbucks Coffee Company down below.  Across it is a huge bookstore (I don’t recall the name).  It’s the one at the “Departure Hall” at the Passenger Terminal 1.  They have another one at the “Check In Hall” at Passenger Terminal 2.  Everytime I have a layover in Hong Kong, I eat there!

Fook Ming Tong Tea Shop 01

FOOK MING TONG TEA SHOP kiosk at the "Departure Hall", Passenger Terminal 1 of the Hong Kong International Airport. Photo from their official website -

I usually ask for their noodle soup with mixed balls.  The best thing about the Fook Ming Tong noodle experience is that beyond their salt and pepper tabletop seasoning and spice options, they offer a shaker with – baby, I’m losing my breathcrushed / powdered green tea leaves!  I didn’t have an iota of skepticism even on the first time I tried it out.  I said to myself that a place known to have elevated and “modernized” the centuries-old art of tea appreciation certainly know what they are doing.

04 Halfway thru my food


05 Gutom pa so assorted dimsum naman

To go along with the Mixed Balls Noodle Soup, I always ask for the Assorted Dimsum Platter. I liberally sprinkle these with the crushed GREEN TEA LEAVES as well. Yum-o!

And I was never wrong.  Specks of crushed green tea leaves in a noodle soup could only mean heaven.  In-between layoevers, I expect to be up there – 33,000+ feet up in the sky – but at Fook Ming Tong Tea Shop, the crushed green tea leaves would always bring me there in no time!

06 Samantha taking my pic

I don't mind traveling alone so long as I have great food to keep me company!... and stuffed!


98 eNTeNG & Samantha

With Samantha of FOOK MING TONG Tea Shop at the Hong Kong International Airport.


Postscript: This is how much I love noodles. After one long flight, the first thing I did upon reaching my hotel room was ask for this big bowl of hot noodles – with a serving of rice on the side! Hahaha! This was a really good meal.

09 Nagutom kaya dinner sa room

First order of business was room service! Not my usual thing (noodles so thick!)... but this was SO GOOD.