“We Ask Chefs” is a regular feature in which we ask local Tucson chefs a range of questions about chef life and food. Read their responses to the latest: “what’s your favorite noodle dish?”
“My favorite noodle dish of all time is a Thai dish called guoy theow reuh, which, literally translated is “boat noodles.” It is a pho-like dish, served with fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, beef ball and julienned beef. In Thailand, pork liver and tripe are added.
This dish was originally sold by food merchants from row-boats in the klongs (canals) in Bangkok, Thailand, once called the Venice of the East because of its expansive canals that connected houses, temples, and market places.
The way we serve it at Senae Thai Bistro is in a broth made by stewing beef neck bone, seasoned with star anise, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, and lemongrass.”
View our October 2017 Nine on the Line with Dee Buizer.
“Ramen and pho.
I really didn’t start eating pho until about four to five years ago. Wasn’t really my thing. My sister took me out to lunch one day. She asked me what I felt like having and I told her to surprise me. She said, ‘let’s go have pho.’ I told her I never had it. I can still remember the look she gave me when i said that. So we went and I fell in love.
Also love ramen. I like to try whatever is out there, but I don’t know what it is besides a guilty pleasure. A cup of noodles never steers me wrong. Plus when you eat it by yourself at home, you can put whatever you want in it and nobody can judge you.”
View our August 2016 Nine on the Line with Ben Caballero.
“Khao soi is by far one of my favorite noodle dishes from northern Thailand.
I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Bangkok a few years ago to cook. We cooked American dishes and Thai dishes over the three-day event. I learned so much about the food culture and the different micro-regions throughout Thailand. I tried so many different styles of food with sweet, spicy, salty and sour combinations but this dish truly stood out amongst them all.
The khao soi was served with two types of wheat noodles, fresh and crispy, which provided a variety of textures that balanced well with the spicy and fatty coconut curry. I remember the noodles being perfect. They had a bite to them that stood up to the silky broth that had a fatty viscosity, yet ate like a rich soup broth. The curry in this broth varies, but is sometimes made with spicy puya chiles, spices, fish sauce, galangal, ginger and garlic. I remember this dish being served with condiments like pickled mustard greens, thick sliced shallots, fish sauce soaked chilies, more rustic smashed curry paste and of course lime. It was delicious and one of those food memories that is hard to replicate. Sometimes you just have to be there.”
View our September 2016 Tools They Use with Ryan Clark.
“This is right up my alley. I love noodles of all kinds. It’s really hard to pick one out of all the awesome dishes available at so many wonderful places around Tucson.
Noodleholics is for sure a great place to get your noodle dish fix. So is Fatman Kitchen, and Brother’s Noodles are no slouches. But pound-for-pound, my favorites are at China Pasta House. The spicy hot noodle with pork, bean sprouts, and tofu is so freaking good, it would be on my last meal list most definitely.”
View our October 2018 Nine on the Line with Ivor Cryderman.
View our March 2017 Nine on the Line with C.J. Hamm.
“I love, love, love Korean japchae. It’s my very favorite. Erica, the bar manager at Playground, makes a vegetarian japchae that she would bring in for family meal and I swear it was the most delicious version of japchae ever. She served it as a chilled noodle salad with shiitake mushrooms, carrots, bamboo shoots, sesame, garlic, and those chewy sweet potato glass noodles.”inst
“Pad kee mao is my favorite and has been for about 20 years. I remember my mom taking us to get noodles and how wide the noodle was, the fun of slurping it up. As an adult, I now like my ‘drunken noodles’ super spicy. I’m still trying to find a great place to get them if you have any recommendations!”
“I like pho, but my all-time favorite is my homemade chicken and dumplings. I make a wide noodle from scratch, boil chicken, and clarify the broth. Add fresh vegetables to broth, shredded/chopped chicken, and those noodles. And let it go for awhile, those noodles are thick, so it takes awhile. One noodles are just right, I thicken the broth if needed with arrowroot or starch. I then steam some drop dumplings on top or sometimes I’ll steam them. Kinda like chicken vegetable soup on steroids.”
View our December 2017 Nine on the Line with David Martin.
“OK, if we are talking like a Japanese noodle dish, I love a good ramen dish with a spiced pork broth, a soft-boiled egg, and fresh ginger with all the toppings. If we are talking Italian pasta noodles, I love angel hair pasta with any kind of cream based sauce; I’m taking any kind of variation of sauce and protein and I’ll be a happy fat kid.”
View our October 2018 Nine on the Line with John “JP” Pratt.
“Italy is the home of pasta, and noodles have been the main part of this long tradition for centuries. Especially in the region around Bologna — Emilia Romagna — delicious noodles (tagliatelle) are prepared by mixing in precise proportions flour and eggs, without adding water. In this way you get a dough that you can pull by hand obtaining an incredibly thin sheet, very suitable to be accompanied by ragu, the mythical bolognese sauce based on different minced meats.
However, if I have to think to a more creative noodles that can satisfy sight and taste, my thoughts turn to maltagliati (“badly cut” noodles — a kind of short noodles, rather thick and irregularly shaped), made using wheat flour wholemeal — or even spelt flour — possibly flavored with an aromatic herb such as rosemary.
These maltagliati serve me as a base especially for fish dishes. They are perfect with stewed calamari (but also with large crustaceans that we call scampi, or with cod).
Since we are Italian, we also always think about pairing with wine: a dish like this requires a white wine with a great structure, such as the Greco di Tufo or the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo barricato.”
View our November 2018 Nine on the Line: Chef “La Fufi” Fulvia Steffenone from Caffe Milano.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...