Kakkemiso Udon at Sanukiya
Have you ever had something so exceptional and unforgettable that you often crave it, but are plagued with being unable to readily satisfy that craving? I’ve felt that recently with many of the meals I experienced on my last trip to Paris. You’d think it was a croissant or a macaron that has yet to be topped anywhere stateside (that, too), but it was actually a bowl of udon, done in a way that brought newfound respect to the noodle dish. I owe this craving to my good friend Jackie (as well as much of my food happiness while in Paris) and her 50 Things to Eat in Paris Before You Die. I can proudly say I checked off a few of those, friend. 😉
I’ve always really loved noodles, but my go-to Japanese noodle has been the ramen (more on that later). During my trip to Paris, while I picked up French words and phrases I used throughout my days there shopping and dining, I found it a bit trippy to be in a Japanese restaurant in France. My language association with Japanese restaurants has always been Japanese, of course, and English, having been to Japanese restaurants mainly in the states. So when we walked into Sanukiya after a laborious shopping day on St. Honore, it felt a little odd to still hear merci. My Japanese might be a little better than my French, when it comes to food and living, so it was almost easier to use Japanese words (and hand gestures) to communicate.
At any rate, Sanukiya did not disappoint (as my friend Jackie rarely does). One of the distinct things about Japanese food and culture is the meticulous time and dedication that’s taken to prepare and present a meal, even a bowl of noodles. The same can be said for French food, which is why the mutual love of Japanese and French does not surprise me. What I’m getting at is the presentation and amazing tastes that came from the bowl of kakkemiso udon in Paris. The noodles were perfectly al dente, served with a light shoyu/dashi broth, arugula (or rocket, as my Thai brethren call it), the most amazing flavorful pork I’ve ever had, and of course, the piece de resistance of any good bowl of Japanese noodles (as David Chang will tell you), a perfectly soft poached egg. The combination of egg, noodle, pork flavors and the surprising arugula has left me craving this dish intermittently since we’ve returned from Paris.
Along with this remarkable creation was also a frozen beer. Eat your heart out, Homer Simpson. This was a draft Japanese beer, frozen to a slurpee-like consistency that ensured a cold beverage until the last drop.
That day, I left St. Honore feeling full and satisfied, as any great meal should leave you.
Frozen Beer. Nuff said.