The Cold Lobster Ramyun at NYC’s Oiji Mi Is a Standout Summer Dish

Cold noodles are a pillar of Korean delicacies, loved year-round however particularly when the mercury rises. Basic iterations of those chilled, typically brothy, noodles embrace naengmyeon, a tangle of buckwheat noodles in a slushy beef broth; and kongguksu, wheat noodles in chilly soy milk soup. As a heatwave rolled via New York Metropolis final week, a explicit model of those noodles haunted my ideas: a chili lobster ramyun from Oiji Mi in Manhattan. The dish, obtainable each on a prix fixe menu and a la carte, is a well-liked holdover from Oiji, the extra informal now-closed restaurant of chef-owner Brian Kim.

You may hint this recipe’s roots to among the flavors and methods present in these conventional chilled noodles, nevertheless it’s a wholly distinctive dish, one which encapsulates a chef’s mission to problem diners’ perceptions of Korean meals.

Oiji Mi’s lobster ramyun includes 4 principal components: contemporary, springy ramyun; creamy sesame sauce; fastidiously poached lobster; vibrant inexperienced garniture. As with most memorable dishes, this one is larger than the sum of its components. The ramyun noodles retain their chewy, inviting texture, the lobster components are cooked individually to forestall overcooking and protect the meat’s sweetness, and the garnish gives welcome freshness to an in any other case wealthy dish.

When an order is available in for the chili lobster ramyun, a chef cooks off a batch of noodles, after which shocks them in ice water so they maintain their bounce. The chilly noodles get completely blended with a velvety, nutty sesame sauce, made out of a mixture of tahini, scallion oil, and pickling liquid. Chunks of lobster are tossed with a Korean-style chili oil wealthy with gochugaru and garlic earlier than being balanced atop the mound of dressed noodles. Earlier than leaving the kitchen, the entire dish is dusted with an umami-heavy seaweed powder, and completed with a signature Korean chilly noodle garnish of julienned cucumbers, and a few sprigs of microgreens.

You could be lured in by the extravagance of lobster, nevertheless it shortly turns into clear that the true star of the present is the sesame sauce. It’s buoyed by the savory scallion oil and blitzed to a creamy texture that adheres to every noodle. The cool, crunchy cucumber affords a welcome respite. It’s not like any noodle dish I’ve had, nevertheless it’s acquainted all the identical.

The “mi” in Oiji Mi has a double that means, actually translating to each “magnificence” in addition to “taste.” The restaurant, designed by New York studio AvroKO, is a lovely house that includes lush interiors recalling basic Manhattan social golf equipment of the Flatiron space, and colourful wood accents—a fashionable architectural nod to conventional Korean homes generally known as hanok. The menu matches this aesthetic; the sense is that the great thing about the restaurant’s new residence can match Kim’s imaginative and prescient for his meals which, whereas Korean at its core, is touched by far-reaching influences.

Nothing about these chilly noodles is a straight interpretation of acquainted naengmyeon in its icy broth, or spicy bibimmyeon or bibimguksu loaded with contemporary greens and heartily blended with a gochujang sauce. For Kim, this dish will not be solely a strategy to introduce diners to Korea’s distinctive chilly noodle tradition, but additionally a part of his bigger aim of pushing individuals to consider Korean meals as extra than simply BBQ and bibimbap. In truth, all of it begins with the restaurant’s identify: “Oiji” refers to Korean pickled cucumbers, a banchan that’s a mainstay of Korean residence cooking. It’s simply as frequent as kimchi, although actually not as well-known to non-Koreans. “I wished to introduce Korean meals, Korean tradition to American individuals,” Kim says. “We wished to indicate individuals extra number of Korean delicacies.”

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