Ramen, soba udon, – XOXO Collective is a bunch of big slurpers. Here are some of our favorite bowls (there’s a recipe too):
The udon-in-Vienna bowl
Julia:Kuro Udon Restaurant & Bar is a new restaurant that has dedicated itself to the popular Japanese noodle soup, which is the first (and so far only) of its kind in Vienna. Sure, there’s Udon at many other places too, but as their Udon is home-made, I suppose they know what they’re doing. We started off with some appetizers before we indulged in our Udon bowls and finished the nice evening with some Umeshu. The Japanese style seating area is a great bonus as well as their interesting drink menu, including sake and shoju.
The local bowl with celebrity fans
Annie: Rung Rueng serves up the best noodle you’ll ever lay hands on – you simply can’t go back home from Thailand without trying out some of the local delicacies the local way now, can you? If you know me in person I probably have already dragged you to this place multiple times. Rung Rueng has been my favorite noodle shop ever since i stepped foot in Thailand about 15 years ago. Yes, this family run business goes back a long, long way. Often times you’ll find the most unassuming crowd of thai celebrities and well known faces eating next to you or even at the same table. Just keep calm and enjoy your meal.
The vegetarian bowl
Waz: Momofuku’s hozon ramen is basically vegetarian tonkotsu. The broth has an earthy mushroom base, and I have not had a meatless ramen that is this rich, silky, and umami. The noodles were a bouncy al dente, which were wonderful in the creamy broth. Fried chickpeas, crispy crackers, and garlicky kale add some nice texture. I happily slurped up every last drop. I’ve had plenty of meatless ramen in NYC, but nothing compares to this bowl. The broth feels very buttery, but I hope it does not actually contain butter as the hozon can definitely stand on its own. I’m betting that this ramen will impress even the meatiest of meat eaters. I definitely need to come back soon!
The home-made bowl
Sofia: These fish balls with rice noodles are inspired by one of my favourite Indonesian dishes, a fish cake called empek empek, even though it’s quite different to empek empek. To begin with, empek empek uses a fish called tenggiri (in Indonesian) which is a ray-finned bony fish from the mackerel family. I use the Spanish cousin of the mackerel in my fish balls, because that’s the closest thing I can find here, and I sometimes like to add some fresh sardines too for some extra fishy flavour. Another difference with empek empek is that are usually cylindrical in shape, and you can later cut them into thick slices if you want to, instead of in round balls. Lastly, empek empek is usually served in a vinegar based sauce, not with rice noodles. Lots of differences I know, but the fish ball itself is very similar to my dear empek empek.
The straight-out-of-Penang bowl
Julie: You can’t go to Penang with out eating some char kway teow so we were on a mission to get some. It’s also considered to be a Singaporean dish, but it can be slightly different. Char kway teow is a noodle stir fry, with the noodles being flat rice noodles. It is seasoned with soy sauce and chili, mixed with prawns, cockles, bean sprouts and Chinese chives. You can also find fishcakes and Chinese sausage. It’s like a pad thai, same same but different! It was definitely yums and definitely wouldn’t mind eating some now as we speak…
The devil spicy bowl
Mitzie Mee: At Kikanbo Ramen, you can choose the level of spiciness ranging from non-spicy to devil spicy. I’ve previously struggled with handling regular spicy at Kikanbo, but for unknown reasons I decided to order the devil spicy ramen this time. The staff warned me that it was very spicy, and told me that I could still change my mind, but I insisted on getting the devil spicy ramen.
Of course devil spicy was way too spicy for me, and after only a couple of sips, I was sweating like a pig. I gulped down 4 glasses of water, but I was still gasping for air, and the Japanese man sitting next to me, started to look worried. I tried circumnavigating those red pepper flakes, but it was impossible, so after eating the egg, I gave up.