During the winter months in Montreal, like most warm-blooded creatures, I seek warmth. While some search out the heat of a roaring fire or comfort of a loved one, I’m usually in search of warmth in the form of steaming hot bowls of soup noodles or the crispy fried variety…
The sight of chefs gingerly twirling long strands of dough then slapping them into submission against cold stainless steel tables to form freshly made noodles is common the moment your step foot into Nudo (1055 St-Laurent). Nudo has different noodle bowls each with a variety of toppings and preparations, but all with the same made-to-order noodles. The most traditional is the beef soup that’s garnished with blanched vegetables and spicy pickles – chicken, pork or vegetarian bowls available.
While in Chinatown, a popular spot for noodles is Beijing (92 Rue de la Gauchetière West). Revered by locals and visitors alike, Beijing’s traditional Cantonese chow mein satisfies all noodle cravings. This fried noodle dish is topped with an assortment of ingredients – shrimp, squid, shitake mushrooms, bok choy, barbecue pork – accompanied with an oyster sauce based gravy. A staple on most Chinese restaurant menus, Beijing’s chow mein has the added value of being available until 3AM daily.
If ramen is what you’re looking for, check out Imadake Izakaya (4006 Rue Sainte-Catherine West) in downtown Montreal. Not your typical packaged instant-ramen, this Japanese style pub offers homemade ramen noodles served in their signature 6-hour broths. The “imadake” ramen is their take on the traditional “chashu” or “yakibuta” noodle bowl which is a pan pork loin served with spinach, narutomaki, bamboo shoots and a soft boiled egg in a choice of a soy or miso based broth.
After starting off as a seasonal lunch stall at the Atwater Market, the Satay Brothers soon heeded the outpouring of demand and opened up a winter location at 3911 Saint-Jacques West. Serving traditional south-east Asian specialties, the brothers brought their mom’s street food recipes to Montreal, including homemade curries and sambal sauces. Check out their laksa lamak, a coconut curry based noodle dish topped with bean sprouts, fish cakes, shrimps and hard-boiled quail egg.
One of my recent favourite discoveries is this tiny basement spot off the beaten path, located uptown in the Cote des Neiges neighbourhood. Sen Vang (5690 Victoria) is a family-run Vietnamese restaurant serving one of my go-to winter day dishes: Bun Bo Hue. This dish, named after a city in central Vietnam, is a noodle soup that is rich in robust beefy flavours and aromatic lemongrass. A dish that’s usually reserved for weekends at most other Vietnamese restaurants – due to the labor-intensive preparation – Sen Vang serves their bun bo hue daily, but you have to ask for it by name- consider yourself in the know!
Photos by Jason Lee
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