Prairie Noodle Shop: Ramen With A Unique Alberta Taste
Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish that has been climbing the food trend ranks for years. While there are restaurants that are serving the dish around town, Prairie Noodle Shop is the first dedicated ramen restaurant in Edmonton. Although the dish has Japanese roots, owners Arden Tse and Terry Wong and chef Jason Oliver wanted source as many local ingredients as possible to give their ramen a unique Alberta taste. They wanted to create a taste of home.
The key to a good soup is a good broth. To create this, the restaurant has paired up with D’Arcy’s Meat Market, located in St. Albert, to source all their locally raised pork, chicken, and beef for the shop.
Chef Jason Oliver told me how pork bones are smoked for three hours to help make the stock – which is really just the beginning of their house-made stock recipe. Chef Oliver estimates that 19 hours of prep, simmer, and savour time has gone into the broth for the prairie pork ramen by the time bowl is served at the restaurant.
As a Celiac I couldn’t partake in the noodle slurping at Prairie Noodle Shop, but I could have a bowl without noodles; the depth of flavor in the broth was incredible.
Another favourite from the appetizer menu is $10 Prairie Pork Buns; the choice of either pulled pork or pork belly is served three ways on Asian steamed buns. I had an opportunity to try the belly without the buns – the piece topped with the candied pear was my favourite. I learned that the day before I arrived, one of the kitchen staff Nenah spent seven hours making just the dough for the buns – each dish at Prairie Noodle Shop is a labour of love.
One of the reasons that ramen is so trendy is that it can combine cheapness with a gourmet experience. Sure – it is just a bowl of soup, but for $15 the culinary crew at Prairie Noodle House is showcasing a time-consuming dish with a truly Albertan flavour (even the ramen are made locally). On a cold Edmonton day, what more could you want?
I always encourage people to shop direct from producers at farmer’s markets, source from local butcher shops, and make the Alberta/Canadian choice at larger grocery stores. Sometimes it requires extra time or effort, but you can taste the difference.