I Left My Heart in San Francisco-Style Garlic Noodles

Credit…Sang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist; Simon Andrews.

Good morning. The vernal equinox is in less than three weeks, but you wouldn’t know it from the frosted mud in the woods and the storm-wounded lawns where I stay. It’s bare ugly everywhere save in the bays, where water clear as gin flows over rocks in a spectrum of pink. At the market: cabbage and potatoes, a box of turnips, industrial berries that might have been grown in space. The new season’s coming, sure as tulips, but right now it’s hard to imagine.

Cooking helps. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe for Vietnamese American garlic noodles (above), for instance, helps conjure a taste of springtime San Francisco, where Helene An introduced the dish at her family’s Thanh Long restaurant in the 1970s. Eating it is a form of travel for me — a chance to imagine myself blocks from the beach, slurping butter-slicked pasta in advance of a walk through Golden Gate Park, wind whipping in from the Farallon Islands. I like the dish with flaked crab cut into it, perhaps with a whisper of Maggi seasoning over the top.

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San Francisco-Style Vietnamese American Garlic Noodles

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They’re a taste of not New York, which is sometimes just what’s called for on a winter weekend, at least for me. Here’s a video on our YouTube channel of Kenji making the dish. Watch closely and then give the recipe a try.

Alternatively, how about Naz Deravian’s new recipe for shrimp tempura or, in keeping with the frying theme, her new recipe for pork tonkatsu? I like the latter because if you make enough for leftovers (and you ought to), you can make katsudon for lunch or dinner the following day.

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