How ‘Not’ to make a Noodle Salad Bowl, or mixing your food metaphors in a baaaaad way.

Take approximately a quarter cup of leftover soggy leaf lettuce, you know, the kind of lettuce you would normally throw away because it’s turned to algae in your refrigerator. Mix with a sweet/sour Thai fish sauce (nam pla) based dressing. Dump into the bottom of a deep ceramic bowl. Top with a big pile of unsoaked dried rice noodles. Fill the bowl so full the rice noodles are spilling out. Top with shredded carrots, a sprinkling of peanuts, and a sliced skinless roasted chicken breast drenched with a Mediterranean mint pesto. Add one small lukewarm vegetarian spring roll stuffed with an Indian/Japanese curried orange mush wherein the the following two flavors are predominant – tofu and curry.

Serve. Assume the customer will be able to eat it. ‘Cuz duh.

Have you ever seen dried rice noodles? And/or tried to eat them– dried? Go on, I dare you.

Dried rice noodles.

Dried rice noodles.

In addition to said, cough-cough, noodles, we have separate and unequal flavors– Thai, Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian. I’m a chef. I stop and think for a moment. I ask myself, do these things go together? Depends upon the skill of the chef and the tenor of the dish.

But this was sorta like something on that show– Chopped– minus the hard lemon candies.

The fish sauce dressing might have worked if the noodles had absorbed some of it, but instead they sat on top of the soggy lettuce and they were hard, tasteless and impossible to chew, not to mention the fact that every time I stuck a fork in the bowl the noodles spilled all over the table and my lap. The bowl was so full there was no way to stir the dressing through the dish. My lunch companion kept staring at me. I’m sure it was because I sent noodles flying all over her. What a fascinating lunch companion I made!

A little fresh mint, minus the chicken, might have worked. However, try cutting into a big hunk of chicken stuck in the middle of all those dried noodles. Impossible. I gave up after one attempted slice that resulted in an spray of noodles.

Even the Indian curry would have been okay without the mushy tofu. No. That’s a flat out lie. Forget the curry. It screamed can of curry powder which always contains too much tumeric and fenegreek for my taste. And I hate tofu except when I prepare it for my Thai noodle salad which includes, among other things, tofu, fish sauce, peanuts and mint.

Hint:  Never try to disguise old icky lettuce with fish sauce or anything else for that matter. Epic fail. Had I not been the guest of a woman who is pretty much a stranger to me I would have sent my salad back. But since I didn’t pay for the meal and I wasn’t particularly hungry, it was more or less a shrug. I brought it home in its entirety for the hubs to figure out. As my kids say, he’s like Mikey. He’ll eat anything.

I am hard on restaurants. It’s a failing of mine, I know it. I just sorta figure that when you pay for food in a nice restaurant it oughta be edible. And it’s my fault. I ordered the salad. But believe me, had I known how inaccurate the description was I would not have ordered it. (Besides, my companion’s Chinese chicken salad wasn’t any better.)

Okay, rant done. Hubs is working his way through the semi-reconstituted noodles. I shook the container a bunch when I got home 🙂

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12 thoughts on “How ‘Not’ to make a Noodle Salad Bowl, or mixing your food metaphors in a baaaaad way.

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Yes, Greta, yes. And I bet you’ve worked with rice noodles so you know exactly what I’m talking about!

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Oh Ray, you are a true foodie! I appreciate your appreciation. I’ll make sure to write more food posts.

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  1. Roberta

    Some times restaurants try to be too avant-garde and end up with a piece of *#@*&%#* . Your lunch sounds terrible. I like plain ‘ole food. I hate this stuff they try to make too cute by far. Just a perfectly cooked medium rare steak with a nice plain salad is fine by me.

    Sorry you had such a terrible meal, Julia.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      If I had actually cared I’d have done something about it, Roberta. But a woman I don’t know very well asked me to meet her at this place for lunch– apparently she likes the restaurant a lot– and for reasons unknown she wanted to treat me. She recommended this salad so I went for it. Was nothing at all like the description. And I wasn’t hungry anyway so I didn’t feel like complaining to our server. Doesn’t mean I won’t dissect the dish over here tho! 😉

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Revolting. That’s a good way to describe it, Anny. I didn’t plan on eating it but I know my husband will eat anything so… 😉

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      1. anny cook

        Thought I’d mention my daughter had her baby today. Boy named Gabriel, 8 lbs 1 oz, 21″ long. All is well. The granddaughters (17 and 11) ‘helped out’ with the delivery. Family is very excited.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. juliabarrett Post author

        I love the name! Love it! Happy day, Anny! Wishing you all the best. This is good news – another Aries!

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