Looking back at the month of March, I’m happy to say that my favourite and most memorable meals have been at pop-up events or were over brunch. I’ll get around to those brunch posts later, but a recap of the latest (and my first!) The Buddha Boys’ pop-up is warranted right now. Hosted at Prairie Noodle Shop, The Buddha Boys were let loose to bring Edmonton their own take on ramen.
Teaming up in August last year, Chef Daniel Huber (previously of Pourhouse Bier Bistro) and Chef Levi Biddlecombe (owner and found of Attila the HUNgry food truck) are The Buddha Boys. Their business card states that they offer “diverse food services” which includes catering, restaurant consulting, cooking classes, and what the hey, food. I was sad to have missed both of their “The Last Supper Club” events so I was extremely excited to finally be able to try their food, and in ramen form no less.
Hosted on Easter Sunday, I thought the timing of the event wasn’t optimal for exposure but surprisingly enough, a lot of people were able to make the event! Tickets were $30 (+ Event Brite service fees) with four different seating times. I love that about ramen, you get in, eat, and out. Done deal. My friend Josh and I were seated quickly after the 5pm seating finished up. I took out my camera to begin setting up when I realized that I had left my memory card back at home. Honestly devastated but I’m sure nobody will bash me for my iPhone pictures of the night. Sorry folks.
Menu for the night was already available to the public at time of ticket sales and aside from using Prairie Noodle Shop’s housemade noodles, everything else was done Buddha Boys style: a Nordic white Miso and Citra Hopped IPA pork ramen broth, Asian citrus-brined rotisserie chicken drum, sesame citrus dressed bean sprout nest, togarashi pickled shiitakes, garlic-fried cashews finished with Kraft Dinner cheese caramel and shaved Korean chilli cured egg yolk. With a description like that, how could you not want to try this? What is going on here?!
Chef Biddlecombe was enthusiastic in explaining to me that the white miso was housemade using Canadian white beans (instead of the traditional Japanese soybean) with fish sauce, light soy and left to ferment for three weeks. Holy intensity. Mixed in with a pork bone base and a traditional dashi made of kombu and katsuobushi, the broth was flavourful, rich and nutty while balanced by the sweetness of the pork.
Despite a monochromatic bowl (aside from the bright red garlic-gochujang brushstrokes), the toppings on The Buddha Boys’ ramen bowl were technically impressive. The Big Rock Brewery’s Honey Brown Lager was used in addition to citrus juices to brine the chicken drum, hands down one of the most tender and delicious chicken I’ve had in my life. I don’t even really know what happened because it really does just look like your everyday chicken. Chef Huber exclaimed that it was really the beer’s doing, some sort of magical chemistry that all rotisserie chicken meat deserve. Egg yolks were left to cure then doused in a Korean chilli before being thinly shaved on top of the bowl. Props to the creativity and technique behind this but somehow I think the flavours weren’t transferred as well as it could have. I honestly think most of my shaved egg yolks disintegrated into my broth after mixing! Somehow The Buddha Boys ramen bowl worked despite so many unique individual components. Everything was well seasoned, well balanced, and I enjoyed the depths of flavours with each bite. Scary to say, Prairie Noodle Shop better watch out if The Buddha Boys ever start up a ramen shop!
The meal ended with dessert, a Lucky 5 Cola “Float” made from The Buddha Boys’ five-spice cola (available for sale on Attila the HUNgry’s food truck) and Edmonton’s own Pinnochio coconut ice cream. Topped with toasted coconut and a salted lime caramel drizzle, it was the perfect way to finish dinner. With a freezer in the works for Chef Biddlecombe’s food truck, this could easily be the dessert of the summer if it hits the streets. Love the use of spices in the cola mixing with the smooth coconut flavour of the ice cream!
It was nice to see a sense of community with everybody there (Prairie Noodle Shop’s third pop-up was held at The Pourhouse) and that what comes around, goes around. Love the fact that Prairie Noodle Shop opens its doors to host pop-ups now to give back to Edmonton’s food scene. I can’t wait to see what The Buddha Boys come up with next and hope to see more from them in the future! Although their flavour profile is Asian and a seemingly familiar one (to me at least), it’s amazing to see their food be quite creative and completely unique to anything else in Edmonton. So glad I was able to make this event and congrats to The Buddha Boys for a great pop-up!The Buddha Boys
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