Another day, another ramen...another magnificent night! Man, this is the life! As I steadily watched both the Dow Jones Index and the Nikkei-225 Index drop below 10k today, all I could think about was tonight's dinner at Foo-Foo Tei. Yeah sure I might not have a job if the economy keeps getting worse, but you gotta look at the bright side...I'll always have ramen!
Like yesterday's Mabo, the Hot & Sour Ramen is another classic Chinese dish that's been Foo-Foo-ized (or Murakamified). Although you don't get to choose your soup base, it's made with a special blend of Murakami-san's shoyu and oyster sauce mixed with some vinegar and chili sauce. Add a little egg, shiitake, takenoko, kikurage, tofu, pork, and some noodles and you have another original soup topped with a hanjuku tamago, negi and naruto. Just like yesterday, I loved how the noodles performed with the soup. Its moderate viscosity embraced every tug and slurp with commendable concentration. It was naturally hot and mildly sour as one would expect. If you enjoy Hot & Sour soup, then you'll enjoy this Hot & Sour Ramen.
The best curry in socal? The best curry in the nation? The best curry in the world? One spoonful and it'll have you pondering those same questions. Add a mini version to your ramen or just go for the full blown meal. Trust me, it's that good!
The Homemade Corokke is another wise choice for an appetizer. They taste just as good as mom used to make. Maybe slightly better (sorry mom).
The Corokke comes with some more homemade goodness--a specially blended tonkatsu sauce. You can dip the Corokke in here or in the curry or both. There's no wrong choice either way.
Do you want to know what this is? I'm sure I'll come across it again in the next 25 days so in the meantime, I'll keep you guessing...
After I finished my ramen, Murakami-san offered me a nama beer on the house. The Japanese side of me politely hesitated, but the American side of me couldn't resist. And after he brought us that beer, he disappeared for several minutes just like the other night. Could he be making another one of his special dishes? Oh, the suspense was killing me.
Yes, of course! How can you drink beer without some surume? Fresh from the kitchen and prepared with Murakami-san's own masterful hands, the heated aroma of the dried squid was hypnotizing. Could that be how I ended up in the back washing all the dishes?...haha...nanchatte (jk).
Accompanying the fresh surume was this elegant-looking soft shell crab. Another masterfully crafted dish that satisfied the suspense. And before I show you why this is more than just a soft shell crab, I'll share with you the story behind its inspiration. As you may know (I didn't), the soft shell crab is the blue crab cooked shortly after the molting process where they get rid of their hard shell in order to grow larger. And as you may also know, there's not much meat in a soft shell crab. So one day when Murakami-san tried it for the first time, he thought "why am I eating an empty shell?!" So it was then that he decided to do this...
...stuff it with tobiko (flying fish) eggs and his signature gyoza filling!! Now this is the best soft shell crab that I have ever tasted! And I'm not just saying that because Murakami-san is a nice guy. This is the truth!! And as luck would have it, I have a witness! Fellow blogger Exile Kiss joined my table just in time to share the other half. Hey Exile Kiss, wasn't that some good ****?
Tonight really turned out to be a fun night. Murakami-san is also quite the comedian and everything that came out of his mouth was just hilarious. I don't think I've laughed that hard in years.
Tomorrow's ramen: Asari