Yum Yum Noodle Bar in Kingston, NY – Surprisingly Slow Service

On my way up to Montreal, Canada, I stopped over at Kingston, NY for dinner. Yum Yum Noodle Bar did not show up when I googled Kingston but it was the only place bubbling with activities at 5:30pm on a Friday afternoon. It is an Asian Fusion type of place with a small college town vibe. The restaurant was filled with diners of all ages. I had high hopes for #noodles!

I apologize for all the red tinted photos below. We sat in a small alcove that is painted deep red with minimal lighting above the table. So please use your imagination.

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Fried Vegetarian Dumplings: Although we went at 5:30pm, the food took around 30-45 minutes to come because the kitchen had only one cook. To compensate for the long wait, this dish was on the house. It was too greasy though.

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Steamed pork buns & pickles: This was good! Two small open-faced buns with tender and well-seasoned pork that fall part easily. Tasted a bit authentically Asian.

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Bibimbap -Korean rice dish: I went for my usual when it comes to Korean. Yum Yum Noodle Bar, although appears to be Asian Fusion, it is really more Korean than Japanese, Chinese, or Thai. I decided to stick to the cuisine the restaurant leans towards to ensure best quality of the food. Plus the waitress told me so. The verdict? It was fine. Still bastardized but fine. My added protein of beef was grilled well. Not as good as what bulgogi would have been for this dish but good enough. This dish was especially tasty after the long wait and the suffering.

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This is the Make Your Own Noodle Bowl: we picked udon as the noodle, chicken broth as the soup base, and pork as the protein. Here is their explanation of the noodle options.

Ramen: Chinese style egg noodle
Rice: gluten-free rice flour noodle
Soba: buckwheat noodle (gluten)
Udon: thick wheat noodle

The pork was tender and delicious like the pork in the buns. But the combo left a lot to be desired. Instead of having the umami from a stewed broth with noodles like one would get from most street vendors in Asia, this bowl tasted like a combo of well-made components but lacked serious harmony with each other. The pork stood out. The udon was blend and too soft. The soup was ok. The nori was ok. But once you try to taste one ingredient with the other, you scream “Blah.” This is a perfect example of a bastardized version of Asian noodles. But in Kingston, I guess it is hip.

One interesting note, the Thai Ice Tea we ordered, although good in a weird way, we believe it was made with soy and not milk!!! It was gritty. Wish we had known. Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much.

FYI – they have got a food truck for catering. Now, that is an idea.

This experience took place at

Yum Yum Noodle Bar
275 fair st • kingston, ny • 845.338.1400

Last Meal in Asia, @ Gate 25 of Narita Airport in Japan

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This is as simple as can be, wakame and plum udon, from this little shop that we frequent every time we connect in the past four years. The broth was light and the noodles cooked just al dente. Japanese food can be so simple and so good. I will miss having authentic Asian food for the next 11 months…

“If it is difficult to fish, let’s open up a noodle stand.” Things I have dreamed about.

This is the Taiwanese entrepreneurial spirit. The fisherman from Tainan decided to open up a noodle stand during the typhoon months of August and September in 1895 when fishing was challenging.  This is to weather the storm; the literal translation from Chinese is to pass the small months in fishing, 度小月。 The restaurant is famous for its authentically Taiwanese noodle stand at the entrance of the store where the chef makes the noodles to order.

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What the noodle stand would have been like in 1895.

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Sauces, meatballs, and stewed soup.

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The full view of the noodle stand

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A small bowl of the Tainan danzai noodles, 擔仔麵。

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Tainan’s famous pork rice tamale, 肉粽。I would like to say that this is the best pork rice tamale in Taiwan.  I grew up with this delicacy in Kaohsiung. My second aunt from my mother’s side would make them by hand for 端午節, for the celebration of the famous poet, 屈原。 This is the same holiday where we do dragon boat racing. This is so authentically Southern Taiwanese and brought back so many memories. Can you tell that I am Southern Taiwanese?  To my regret, all the Asian grocery stores in NY do not make them as delicious as this!

 

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Oh my my my! This is mullet’s roes, grilled and served with daikon and green scallion.  This is one of my most favorite foods in the world.  The mullet’s roes are usually in season during the Chinese New Years.  Chinese New Year celebrations are on par to those for Christmas. For New Year’s Eve, my family would grill some of the roes and I would binge on them.  It was one of my happiest memories of Taiwan.

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This is how you put it together and eat it in one bite.  This is something I dream about… That connection made long ago is still there! This was extremely satisfying!

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Milkfish’s belly, pan-fried.  It was good but not my cup of tea.

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Believe it or not, for a girl who does not like alcohol, I finally found my vice. This is good beer.  Beer with Taiwanese oranges. But I guess this is a sissy drink with only 2.8% alcohol content and 5.5% juice.

This experience brought back some happy childhood memories and satisfied a part of me that I have forgotten.  What great eating!  I highly recommend it.  The restaurant is

Du Xiao Yue (度小月), Taipei, Taiwan

Address: No. 12號, Alley 8, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhōngxiào East Rd, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Bon appétit!

Having Pho in Taipei – Where Supply Meets Demand

What about food from Vietnam?  There has been an insurgence of cuisines from Vietnam and Thailand in the recent years.  It’s unclear to me exactly why that is but this trend appears to follow the number of the brides the Taiwanese men import from Vietnam and Thailand.  Ok, I know I sounded a bit judgemental just now.  To be a tad less biased, I should also mention that there seems to be an insurgence of western cuisines with the number of Taiwanese women who married white men and brought them back home.  Aha, now I am just discriminating everyone Taiwanese regardless of gender or their spousal choice.  Who am I to judge other people’s happiness?  This is globalization where supply meets demand.  Love comes in all different forms.

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Love this bowl of pho (cooked beef) with glass noodles.  You can add all the condiments, ranging from fish sauce, white vinegar, chili, to soy sauce of various darkness.

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Love this bowl of noodles in a slightly different way – love the raw beef (pho done  the right way) and the regular thin noodles.

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Tender love for this bowl of noodles – it’s chicken with chicken broth.  Nothing too special but comforting.

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Love love the stewed seaweed (Kombu) with green scallions.  Love the iodine and the umami it gives.
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Love the softness and the hardiness of the daikon.

Tripe Thin Noodles, 大腸麵線

Ok, this is for the courageous ones. It’s yummy!! Thin noodles thickened with corn starch, mixed with various spices and sauces, topped with pieces of tripe, and cilantro. It may not look pretty but this is a small bowl of heaven. Come join me. I will be waiting.

Wonton Soup and Taiwanese Bolognese Noodles, 餛飩湯和滷肉麵

At Danshui for lunch, we found this tiny store front that was opened for lunch before 11am on a Sunday. After we made our way up the narrow stairs, we sat down to a nice bowl of wonton soup and a bowl of Taiwanese style Bolognese noodles. Simply, yum is the word. It’s just right.

 

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