For hot days, cold noodles at Ramen Bull
In 92-degree heat in the middle of August in L.A., even the hardiest ramen aficionado might think twice about sticking her face over a steaming bowl of ramen -- no matter how hungry for hot noodle soup with roast pork that first issue of Lucky Peach made her. That's where hiyashi chuka comes in: cold ramen noodles served in a refreshingly rice-vinegary sauce, typically topped with julienned vegetables and omelet, shredded chicken, sliced ham, maybe some beni shoga (pickled red ginger) and strips of dried seaweed and a little spicy mustard.
Chef Noriyuki Sugie is serving, off-the-menu and for a limited time, his own version of hiyashi chuka at the ramen-shop-in-a-bakery called Ramen Bull, which runs through at least the end of September at Breadbar on 3rd Street. He sources his fresh chukamen noodles (made with wheat flour and kansui, an alkaline solution) from a San Jose-based company. The toppings are unusual: fresh tiny leaves of spinach and flowers, crispy onions, avocado, bits of beef shank, halved cherry tomatoes, julienned radish, soy-marinated boiled egg, and pomegranate seeds -- "for crunch," says Sugie, who notes ramen "is my passion." The best part might be the sauce, based on Sugie's beef shank consomme, just slightly gelatinous and super rich, touched with the tang of rice vinegar. Mix it all together with some of his house-made chile paste.
Get it while you can.
Ramen Bull at Breadbar on 3rd Street, 8718 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (310) 205-0124, www.breadbar.net. Ramen Bull hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Photo: Betty Hallock