My Relationship with Noodles

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A life of all work and no play is as awful as it sounds. It’s important to have fun, and that’s what today’s post is all about. Actually, it’s about noodles, but the fun is implied.

It didn’t occur to me, until a few weeks ago, how central noodles have become in my day to day life, since arriving in Asia. After thinking about it, my relationship and desire for noodles is quite hilarious, and I feel the need to share it because I’m sure some of you can relate.

At Home

“Who doesn’t love a good Asian noodle dish?”

Back home, before my RTW trip came to fruition, my love for any kind of noodle dish was as casual as passing a stranger on the street. I never really took notice of it, but when brought to my attention as a meal option, of course I would say yes. Noodles were a treat, something to look forward to every 1-2 weeks. Ever heard of “Thaidays” (Thai Fridays)? Well, now you have. Every Friday, I would pick up Thai food for dinner on my way home from work as a reward for surviving another week.

Curry udon in Nikko, Japan

Curry udon in Nikko, Japan

Upon Arrival In Asia

“Give me all the noodles! OM NOM NOM!”

With the knowledge of all the cheap, delicious cuisine available in Asia, visiting significantly increased the drool factor. In the noodle mecca that is Asia, I was finally able to fill the void unknowingly growing inside me. Because everything was so cheap, especially in Thailand, I found myself buying 3-4 noodle based dishes per day. I wish I was kidding. It was like a shiny, new toy. Once you lay your eyes on it, the grabby hands come out like an infant, and the first bite transports you to a sea of noodles so warm, delicious, and inviting you never want to leave.

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Hiroshima style okonomiyaki served over soba noodles

After 1 Month In Asia

“Does this place have anything besides noodles?”

After about one month, my love for noodles hadn’t completely dissipated, but it started heading downhill. I was certainly craving more variety in my meal choices so on the search for food, I started seeking out places that offered more than just noodles. To keep the appreciation for noodles alive, that meant trading in the pad thai stands for familiar foods like fruits, veggies, breads, soups, curries, and so on.

Pad see ew in Chiang Mai

Pad see ew in Chiang Mai

After 2 Months In Asia

“OMG, I never want to eat noodles again.”

Too much of something can completely erase the spark you once had for it. Kind of like being in a new relationship where you just want to be with that person all the time, but the longer you’re together, there will be some undiscovered rough patches to overcome. Well, with noodles, it works the same way. It reached a point where, sometimes, despite feeling really hungry, the minute the bowl was set in front of me, my appetite evaporated into thin air. After seeing noodles on the menu in every restaurant I passed, I never wanted to see another noodle again in my life. Obviously, the odds didn’t work in my favor, given that I had another month left in Asia. At night, I’d find myself awake, staring at the ceiling, and wondering why I loved noodles so much in the first place.

Japchae

Japchae

After 3 Months In Asia

“What do you mean you don’t serve noodles? My survival depends on noodles!”

After clearing the hurdle of never wanting to eat noodles ever again, it became evident that my survival depended on them. There was no running from them. They were cheap, delicious, and I had made peace with the fact that they were a staple food in Asia like rice (that’s a whole other foodsphere). Noodles became something I started eating without thinking because they were familiar, and I knew how to order them in the language of the country I was in. During each meal, I started to ponder what I would eat when I got home, and the thought of going back to a land of burgers, hot dogs, and beer terrified me thereby reigniting my love for noodles.

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Returning Home

“These noodles suck. I’m going back to Asia!”

In America, Asian food tends to be heavy, greasy, and rarely matches the spice levels of noodle dishes across the Pacific. Until I can return, however, they will have to suffice. It’s back to “Thaidays” until further notice.

If you were to graph my love for noodles, it would look like a dragon’s back, a constant wave of up and down. At the end of the day, however, I cannot deny my undying love for noodles. So (r)AMEN to that!

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