Tuesday, May 09, 2006

★★ 羊城麵家 (Canton Wonton House) - Seattle

Canton Wonton House is my first review of Hong Kong/Canton style ramen. I've tried a bunch of different ramen from China, Taiwan, and SE Asia, all of them are quite different from the ramen in Japan. But Hong Kong style noodle soup is very similar to Japanese ramen that it leads me to think that this might be the original ramen that was brought into Japan 100 years ago. Located in the International District in Seattle. I ordered the first item on the menu, 鮮蝦雲吞麵 (wonton noodle soup).

The Soup - in Japanese ramen standards this soup seems unfinished. A simple clear chicken/pork based broth seasoned with salt and soy sauce, that's it. No special sauce, no drops of flavored oil, and no bits of pork fat rained on top... The soup was simple yet enjoyable.

The Noodles - are in appearance very similar to the ramen noodles in Japan. Thin and slightly curly, yellow egg noodles just like Japan... that is until you take a bite of it. These noodles are tough, hard, and not very easy to swallow; Japanese ramen can be judged by its 喉越し (nodo-goshi) or "the texture of the food as it passes through the throat". Some Japanese ramen noodles are slippery and silky, making it easily possible to swallow even without chewing. Don't try that with these Canton noodles though; There was also a trace of shrimp flavor in the noodles itself.

The Toppings - run the gammit from wontons, cha-shu pork, sui-kau (gyoza dumplings), bok choy cabbage, and more. There are over 40 different ramen you can order, the major difference is the topping you order. The shrimp wontons were very good.

Overall - if you are a fan of Japanese ramen then Hong Kong style noodle soup might seem a bit bland for you. I enjoy it because it is simple and cheap (this dish was only $3.25). The texture of the noodles I didn't enjoy, but I'm sure this is just from an initial ramen culture gap. I will try some more Canton style ramen places and see if I can develop a new appreciation for this type of noodles.

608 S Weller St Seattle, WA 98104


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