For those of you who missed the Prairie Noodle Shop pop-up this last Saturday night, have no fear, a recap is here! And if you don’t even know what I’m talking about, here’s a quickie for you: ramen done right, noodles and broth from scratch, made from local ingredients with an Alberta twist. If you prefer watching a quick video about the history of Prairie Noodle Shop, check out Arden Tse and Chef Stephen Baidacoff on a segment of Breakfast Television below, otherwise keep on reading!
If you’ve followed the blog for awhile, you might know that my boyfriend Joe has a thing for noodle soups. So naturally, it’s rubbed off on me that ramen is one my absolute favorite dishes to eat! It’s a shame that Edmonton doesn’t have a designated ramen shop (although at one point there was one on 97 St in Chinatown that shut down within months), and our only options for ramen is either at Nomiya (two locations) or Yuzen in St. Albert for lunch on Saturdays.
Enter Arden Tse, financial and investment professional by day, ramen-maker all other times. And to keep the story (very) short… Arden and his friends started making ramen in their own homes, met Kathyrn Joel of Get Cooking Edmonton at MacEwan University Residence, got introduced to Chef Stephen Baidacoff and his team, perfected their bowl of Alberta-inspired ramen, and BAM! It’s pop-up time! It’s obviously not as simple as that, and for the full story, you can ask Arden who has mastered the storytelling of how Prairie Noodle Shop came to be but it had to be done or else you’ll never get to the photos of the delicious ramen!
So that takes us to the pop-up shop. Held at the Get Cooking Edmonton facilities, Prairie Noodle Shop promised Edmonton 100 ramen bowls at $15+GST a bowl, starting at 8pm. The result? All bowls sold out on a first come first serve basis by 7:45pm, with a line starting at 7pm. Thank God for social media, Joe and I left the condo when the line was 10 people long. Phew! Tickets were sold with numbers on the back, and groups of 10 were called in to grab freshly prepared bowls of ramen. The meal was done as standing room only, enough for feeding 30 people at a time, old school street-style way of eating ramen, which also promoted a high turnover of patrons. It was awesome. In and out within 15 minutes!
What did $15 get us? A bowl of friggin’ deliciousness, that’s what. Fresh ramen noodles (sourced locally and made with an “ancient recipe”, winky face) with a slight bite to them, perfectly cooked (when eaten ASAP as intended); a shio (or salt based)-broth made from smoked bones of a whole locally-sourced Irvings Farm Berkshire pig with a dashi packed with umami flavor from dried shrimp; and various killer toppings: umeboshi (a salted Japanese plum)-cured egg, sweet corn, and the same Irvings Farm pork done three ways – charred pork belly to make charsiu, shredded hams and shoulder, and pork skin crackling made into a crispy chicharrón, thereby utilizing the entire pig. True Alberta-style. Absolutely loved the whole meal and the concept of making a localized ramen dish (there’s different styles of ramen within Japan, why not do one in Alberta?), yet keeping plenty components of a traditional Japanese ramen bowl.
Get Cooking Edmonton was a great facility to host the pop-up, providing not only as a physical kitchen but incubating would-be restauranteurs and entrepreneurs with new ideas or concepts for restaurants. I’m so glad they worked with Arden to bring this to the Edmonton public! Future pop-ups are in the making, ideally every 6 – 8 weeks to gauge Edmonton’s interest in a ramen shop. The pop-ups are definitely a great way to test out new recipes and work out any kinks before Prairie Noodle Shop moves forward. Arden and the team hopes to open up a shop one day with a main menu of six types of ramen bowls as their base, and perhaps a feature or rotational bowl. Next pop-up with be a chicken-based broth, locally sourced. Can’t wait! You can count me in for every ramen pop-up! My favorite style of ramen is a spicy miso base. Or even a rich tonkatsu-miso mix. Hopefully they’ll feature those one day! *crosses fingers*
Make sure you follow @YEGNoodles on Twitter for more information on what they’re up to and future pop-ups. And if you’re interested in taking cooking classes from the crew of talented chefs at Get Cooking Edmonton, head over to their website, www.getcookingedmonton.com, to book a class! You can also contact Kathryn Joel through Twitter at @getcookingyeg, she’s all open to more restaurant or pop-up ideas! Thanks to Arden, his friends, and the entire crew at Get Cooking Edmonton for the evening, can’t wait to see you all again soon!Prairie Noodle Shop
@YEGNoodles Get Cooking Edmonton
City Centre Campus
11050 104 Avenue NW