On Friday night, I came home grumpy after a very frustrating day in Tokyo. While life over here is pretty easy 90% of the time, every now and then the planets align and you have a day where everything just seems needlessly difficult and you are thwarted at every turn.
Turns out Moon Tan was also a victim of this phenomenon. We commiserated over a beer (for me), some awful fruit flavoured alcoholic beverage (for Ms Tan; called “Chu Hi” over here and pretty much a cheaper, nastier version of a Vodka Cruiser), and some amazing noodles that Moon Tan had cooked.
These noodles were one of the best meals I’d eaten since I’d arrived in Japan, and I could tell that Moon Tan was pretty pleased with herself. I asked her what she called her creation, and she said “Angry Noodles”. She said that she would never be able to perfectly recreate this dish, into which so much passion had gone. But when I pressed her, she recounted the cooking process, which I share with you all now.
Moon Tan’s Angry Noodles
You will need:
- A dangerously small Japanese vocabulary;
- A growing sense of hopelessness and rage
- To be in Japan
- Lots of time to brood (perhaps while your boyfriend is at work and you are trapped, alone, in the tiny apartment you now call home).
- Try and learn some Japanese. Try, but largely fail. Suppress the growing sense that this language seems to have been designed in order to confuse and bewilder gaijin.
- Realise that it’s your turn to organise dinner, and that this will entail venturing out into the vast, unfriendly urban jungle of Tokyo in order to hunter gather.
- At the supermarket, try and ignore the mounting frustration you feel, knowing that all of the ingredients you need for dinner are somewhere here, but you will probably never find them because you can’t read any labels.
- Ask a well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful store attendant where to find the garlic. Try to smile and look like you understand when he delivers a minute-long answer in Japanese, which provides you with no assistance whatsoever.
- Spend 10 minutes walking up and down the supermarket aisle devoted entirely to brown coloured sauces. Some of them might be soy; some of them might be teriyaki; most of them are probably some disgusting fish flavour. Select one at random and hope that it will be edible when added to udon noodles.
- Back home, start the cooking process. Combine strips of pork and garlic to a frying pan with a bit of oil.
- Realise that the “oil” you bought is actually sushi vinegar.
- Realise that the “garlic” you bought is actually just salt with garlic flavouring.
- Add udon noodles and vegetables. Taste. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great, either.
- Channel all of the anger and rage that has been building up throughout the day. Drink a sugar free Chu-hi that tastes like drain cleaner (this will help to focus your anger, while reducing your inhibitions).
- Draw on all of your emotions to turn this mediocre dish into a masterpiece. Furiously add curry powder left over from last night’s curry. Add a touch of lemon juice in a blaze of scorn. Reduce the sh*t out of that m%&*^f*&%er, then carelessly slop in some more of that mystery brown sauce. Pelt a handful of garlic salt at the pan.
- Congratulations! Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of your broken dreams, you have created delicious Angry Noodles.
Try it yourself!