Growing up in Hong Kong, we wouldn't go on mall dates and eat at Auntie Anne's. Instead, we'd wander the streets of Mongkok with a palm-sized bag of noodles in hand, with two bamboo skewers stuck in them as makeshift chopsticks. In Hong Kong's many shopping districts, you'll find these stalls that sell chilled noodles in a bag with a slew of ingredients you can top them with: octopus, seaweed salad, ham, corn, bean sprouts, etc. The sauce is straightforward but what makes it so outstanding is the punch of the raw garlic and the endless possibilities of toppings.
As the summer approaches, I like to turn to lighter refreshing vinaigrettes to dress noodles and salads. Using the ready-made jams and marmalades found in Asian supermarkets, we can build a huge variety of dressings for chilled noodles that pair excellently with a variety of vegetables creating a dish that is anything but the generic "Asian-style noodle salads" we see across the US. Instead, we'll bring yuzu honey concentrate, yuzu kosho, and ponzu, as true East Asian ingredients that help punctuate yuzu's lively fruit flavors that inspired this fusion dish in the first place. Note: the tea looks like marmalade. Like tea leaves, hot water is added to make tea.
There's good reason to believe that cold sesame noodles were first brought to New York 40 years ago by chef Shorty Tang at Hwa Yuan in Chinatown. Since then, chilled sesame noodles have been a ubiquitous part of Chinese takeout. At Junzi, sesame noodles have been one of our signature dishes since we opened, thanks to a deeply flavorful, carefully layered sesame sauce made of pure sesame paste, aromatics, and fermented tofu. Finish off the dish with chile oil and it's a classic-but not like one you've had before.
The combination of cold, chewy homemade soba noodles with steaming-hot crispy duck and dashi-enriched dipping sauce is an unparalleled delight. Timing is key when making this dish—cook the soba just before you serve. Work ahead by steeping the dashi and seasoning the duck the night before or the morning of cooking. For the purest flavor, seek out hon mirin (“real mirin”), which has no added sweeteners or salt.