Last night I attended the 2nd annual Ottawa Noodlefest hosted by Privé. I first discovered Privé last fall when I attended Taco Fest. They are an event production and marketing company based in Ottawa that puts on events a few times a year. Each themed event brings local restaurants and chefs together to promote their businesses and their food. Last night’s event had chefs showcasing their spin on Thai, ramen, and other popular noodle dishes. There were also a few other street-food vendors on site for dessert like Mr. Churros and Hot Cream Holes. Each event always sells out and this time was no different. The entrance fee was $10 and tickets can always be purchased in advance online. They also have an option where you can pay at the door but only beginning 2 hours after the start of the event for $15. All food is priced between $1-$5 and goes to support local businesses. From my experience at Taco Fest, I knew that it was a good idea to go early, so we got there exactly at 5pm when doors opened. Everything seemed very well organized and I noticed that there were more bars areas in the lobby and much more seating than last time.
We entered the hall and found the vendors lined up at the back of the room in a single row. Long communal tables were covered with brown paper were grouped together in several areas of the room. They also had couches and bistro-style tables scattered in the middle of the room. This was really good considering it was Noodlefest and it gave people a chance to put things down. I started off with Raon Kitchen’s Beef Japache (a Korean dish made from sweet potato noodles, stir fried in seasame oil with vegetables) served with kimchi (spicy and sour fermented vegetables like napa cabbage) and an order of their Mandu pork dumplings. The beef japache was very good and we got a pretty large portion. It was very flavourful and had a variety of vegetables with it. It wasn’t super spicy, which was good, but it did had enough subtle flavour that wasn’t over powering. I thought that the dumplings were a little disappointing. I think that they could have benefitting from more stuffing inside. Both dishes were $5 and I left like I had more for my money with the Japchae.
Next we went to Wei’s Noodle House and had the Braised Pork Belly served on a tropical salad of vermicelli noodles. They had half a dozen different sauces that you could top the dish off with and we chose the classic soya sauce with garlic. This dish was REALLY good. It came with a large portion of tasty pork belly. The salad had a mix of bean sprouts, carrots, cucumber, and pieces of fresh pineapple.
Braised Pork Belly served on a tropical salad of vermicelli noodles $5
Next up was Chef Jonathan Korceki’s Prawn Laksa with hand rolled ramen noodles, pea tips, and crispy sparkle! I’m a fan of Sidedoor where Chef Korecki was executive chef (in late 2014 he moved over to Eighteen the sister-restaurant). You may also recognize him as a finalist of season 2 of Top Chef Canada. I’ve seen him cooking at Sidedoor several times when I’ve been there but never actually had the opportunity to meet and chat with him. While waiting for my noodles, I asked Chef Korecki if I could take a photo of him for this blog. He cheerfully agreed and to my surprise said “how about I take a photo with you”. He came out from behind this booth and I introduced myself to him and said that I was one of the Ottawa Foodie Girlz (I didn’t expect him to know how we were, afterall, we are pretty new to the scene). I was shocked that he had heard of us before! We chatted about quickly about Foodie Girlz and talked about how we experience and blog about our food experiences. He then very kindly took a picture of me and returned to his awaiting customers. The noodles themselves were the perfect width and had a silky texture to them. I then fished out a large prawn from the tasty noodle broth. The broth reminded me of the butter poached lobster dish at Sidedoor made with green curry and seasonal vegetables. It had the classic coconutty flavour with hints of lemongrass and lime that left me wanting more.
Our final stop found us at the Angry Dragonz’s booth. This was a little different for them since you can usually find them in their foodtruck around the city. They had two items on their menu but I decided to try their Longevity Noodles. The beef brisket tasted like a classic Chinese stewed beef with aromatic chinese spices that had been simmered for hours. This dish is like the best of Chinese comfort food on a cold snowy day!
The overall experience at Sip ‘n Slurp was very good. I got try new places that I’d read and heard about and experience what they had to offer. The next event, 613 Night Market is already in scheduled for May 2, 2015.