I played with my food as a kid. My parents never discouraged; a tablespoon of sauce on this, mixing up various sauces or forming odd food items from the dishes on the table was the norm. How else are you supposed to discover something yummy? BTW salt & pepper prawns in a Peking duck crepe are fantastic.
I never grew out of it either to the delight of some of my friends and the horror of others. I guess it comes from my sense of adventure and discovery. I think a lot of people share the same drive but often it is expressed in kitchens rather than restaurant dining rooms. However, I will keep my curiosity in check depending on whom I eat with or where I’m eating out of respect.
So my favourite thing to eat at Santouka is not ramen. I love the ramen at Santouka, especially that torininko ramen but what makes me smile from ear to ear is a bowl of Ikura Chazuke.
Wikipedia defines Chazuke (茶漬け, ちゃづけ) or ochazuke(お茶漬け, from o + cha tea + tsuke submerge) is a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea, dashi, or hot water over cooked rice roughly in the same proportion as milk over cereal, usually with savoury toppings.
It’s also very similar to a dish my parents would make by pouring the soup they made for dinner onto rice that crisped at the bottom of the rice cooker.
It’s comforting in the same class as congee and stew on mashed potatoes; perfect for rainy Vancouver Days.
Chazuke is not on the Santouka menu and it’s not a VIP/Special order item either. I happened on it by accident by ordering the Ikura ramen combo.
I ate all the noodles and toppings and had soup left over. The soup Santouka makes is so rich and complex in flavour that it seem like a shame to waste it. I initially put only a few spoonfuls to moisten the rice in the Ikura rice bowl. But then discover how well all the ingredients work together. The soup seasoned the rice. Biting into the golden Ikura orbs released a saltiness that enhanced the flavours of the soup and the additional seafood taste made the dish more interesting.
The more I ate, the more soup I added and my smile grew. I didn’t realize my concoction was a real dish until I saw chazuke described on the menu at Aki’s and Guu Garden.
Try it out and if you can’t eat as much you can order less noodles (-$1) in the ramen combo and leave more room for the Chazuke. You can also do a veggie or salmon Chazuke.
Hope to bring you more mad food scramblers as I make more serendipitous food concoctions.