Kimchi Udon

On Sundays I try to make up some lunches to pack up so I can take them to work the next week, something I can nuke, and save a smidgen of money over eating lunch out. Inspired by the Kimchee Fries I had from the SsahmBBQ Food Truck I decided to do something with Kimchi. Instead of fries, I thought I’d have them with Tofu and Udon noodles (I love the big, pfat udon).

Low on raw materials, I headed out to Saigon Mall, the Asian grocery store (and more) near our house. I go there a lot – though not as often as I’d like. It’s like taking a little exotic vacation for the cost of a meal, smoothie, or a bag of groceries.

Saigon Mall

Saigon Mall, about a half-mile from my house. This used to be the neighborhood Target store.

I was low on Udon, so I bought a package. Saigon Mall has two entire aisles plus a refrigerated section dedicated to noodles in all their varied glory. I’ve tried several brands, and decided that I like the Hoshi Maru Udon the best.

When you buy noodles from Saigon Mall the receipt always says “Alimentary Paste” on it. I thought that was some sort of mistranslation until I did a tiny bit of research where I discovered that this was something our government, in all its wisdom, required.

From the Cook’s Thesaurus at

Asian noodles Notes: Until recently, the U.S. government required a noodle to contain flour, water, and eggs to be rightly called a noodle. Since most Asian noodles aren’t made with eggs, this left them without much of an identity. The FDA permitted names like “alimentary paste” and “imitation noodles,” but Asian noodle producers–from the birthplace of the noodle no less–could not use the n-word. The government finally relented, and we can now use the name “Asian noodles.”

The Hosi Maru Udon package has the words “Elementary Pasta” written on it. I’m not sure if that is a derivative of “alimentary paste” or not. Luckily I’ve never seen it transposed as “Elementary Paste” – that sounds like what we all ate in third grade.

They had ready-made Kimchi in refrigerated glass bottles. The small quart size said “Kimchi” on it… the big gallons said “MocKimchi.” I don’t know if there is a difference, but as far as I could see the stuff in the jar looked identical. I’m not quite up to buying the gallon size jar of fermented cabbage yet, so I stuck with the quart.


The Kimchi is in the refrigerated case, right next to the jellyfish section.

The store has a mind-boggling selection of sauces. I chose an inexpensive soy sauce pretty much at random and bought a big bottle of Sriracha brand Rooster sauce. A package of firm tofu… and I had my raw ingredients.

Raw Materials

Udon Noodles, Sriracha Sauce, quart jar of Kimchi, Soy Sauce, and Tofu

I sautéed slices of the tofu in a pan until they were a little brown, then cooked some soy sauce with them until it reduced. Meanwhile, I boiled up a mess of udon.

I opened the jar of Kimchi and watched the spicy, fermented cabbage bubble and burp (I guess this is how you know it’s good kimchi) before I dumped it out.

When all this was done, I divided it all up into four meals, then squirted Sriracha over the noodles for flavor and kick.


Kimchi, Noodles with Sriracha, and Tofu

They are packaged apart, but I’ll eat it all together, mixed in a bowl. A pretty good lunch, actually.

Now, there is one problem. All you purists will look at this and say, “You’ve got Japanese Udon, Korean Kimchi, hot sauce that’s a mixture of Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese flavors though it’s made in America and manipulated for Western Tastes. You don’t know what the hell you are doing… mixing all these foods together like that. That is not how these ingredients are supposed to be prepared and served. You are showing your ignorance and disrespect for the culinary cultures of a billion people and look like an idiot for doing so.”

And that is all true. I don’t know what I’m doing and I am an idiot. Thinking about this for a while, I realized there is only one possible riposte to this criticism, “I like it, if you have a problem, you can go fuck yourself.”

Kimchee Fries!

On Friday I decided to take the DART train downtown after work. There were all sorts of festivities planned for the Arts District and beyond and I couldn’t think of anything better to waste my time with. I arrived pretty early and had time to walk around watching roadies unload and put together stages, rows of seats, and banks of elaborate lighting effects. There’s nothing better on a late Friday afternoon than hanging around, being useless, and watching other people work.

Looking at all that effort made me hungry after a while so I set out in quest of some gourmet food trucks. One of the festivities going on was to construct a number of mini-parks in parking spaces all over downtown. Between the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Symphony Hall they filled in some spaces with portable turf and set up some dainty chairs and tables – better to chow down on the fare from four trucks set up in the parking lot.

The four trucks were:

Food Trucks

Food Trucks and tables in the Dallas Arts District.

Food Trucks

Four food trucks lined up in a downtown Dallas parking lot.


They all looked great, but I was standing closest to Ssahm BBQ so that’s the way I went. I took a quick glance at their menu and ordered a couple of tacos – one chicken, one tofu.

It was great. Really good, spicy food. I sat at the little table in the parking space and ate my tacos.

A nice little meal.

ssahmBBQ Truck

ssahmBBQ Truck


ssahmBBQ Tacos. Really good. I liked the little battery-powered candles on each table. Pretty upscale for a parking lot.

There was only one problem. While I was waiting for my tacos, someone else walked up to the food truck and asked what to get. The guy said, “Well, the Kimchee Fries are pretty much a must, of course.”

Kimchee Fries! Why didn’t I think of that. I looked at the menu.

  • Fresh Hand Cut Potatoes
  • Monterey Jack & Cheddar Cheese
  • Cilantro & Onion
  • Caramelized Kimchee
  • Spicy Mayo

Oh get the hell out! I sat for a minute enjoying the evening, then trooped back to the food truck to place my order of Kimchee fries.

Was it good. You betcha! Now I need to follow that truck around. Or if it’s on the other side of town… make my own.

Kimchee Fries

Kimchee Fries

Food Trucks
Food Trucks in the Dallas Arts District.