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One of Korea’s hottest new aliment trends has arrived. Called K-dogs, rice dogs or the misnamed (since they’re not fabricated with cornmeal) Korean blah dogs, they’re about biconcave in batter, formed in a brittle blanket — panko breadcrumbs, comatose corn, aloof rice or alike admission ramen noodles — and again deep-fried afore actuality slathered in salty, candied and ambrosial sauces. Some of the added alien versions alike accept big cubes of absurd potatoes anchored in the batter, authoritative the dog attending like an comestible caveman’s club.
K-dogs had already fabricated their way assimilate the airheaded of a brace of aliment trucks, but acknowledgment to restaurateur Thuan La, you can now get the specialty at Mama’s Noodle Cafe, his beanery at 4690 South Yosemite Street in Greenwood Village.
La hadn’t planned on acceptable a new restaurant owner, but the befalling arose because he’s accompany with the buyer of the location’s antecedent tenant, Renzio’s, who capital to do article new and different. “I’m a restaurateur, but I’d afraid my hat up for a while,” La explains of his bound aback into the field. “It’s been a acceptable twenty years aback my aftermost restaurant.” In those amid years, he’d gotten added complex in card conception and aliment analysis and development to advice added businesses appear up with card items.
When La opened Mama’s in the adapted Renzio’s on April 1, 2020 (at a time he realizes was abundantly difficult, aback restaurants were bankrupt to all but takeout and delivery), what he calls rice crisis dogs weren’t on the menu. But he capital to produce a affection artefact while befitting the amount reasonable — Mama’s is aloof about the bend from Cherry Creek Aerial Academy — and started researching capacity and techniques, blockage abroad from gluten and pork in adjustment to give a added admirers the befalling to try article new. Ultimately, he angry to Hebrew National for an all-beef hot dog as the base of his final recipe. “I approved a few altered articles but concluded up activity with a lower-sodium hot dog, because I didn’t appetite the accomplished affair to be overwhelmingly salty,” La notes.
It’s a big dog, too — ample abundant to be skewered on a board chopstick instead of the skinnier skewers or collapsed sticks about acknowledging accepted blah dogs. From there, the dog is biconcave in rice-flour concoction and absurd afterwards it’s formed in aloof rice, which gives the accomplished affair a characteristic crunch.
Mama’s crisis dogs are offered in three styles: Tokyo, Seoul and Saigon. The aboriginal comes topped with Japanese mayo, seven-spice and soy tare (a blubbery atramentous booze agnate to teriyaki or okonomiyaki sauce); the additional is loaded with cautiously chopped kimchi and the abode “tangy honey sauce”; and the third boasts the ablaze flavors of pickled daikon and allotment and cilantro-jalapeño sauce, with a little back-bite from candied chili sauce. They all admission with spicy, sweet, acrid and appealing flavors, and accept a acceptable crisis that lasts alike if you booty your dog to go. And as awkward as they sound, the crisis dogs are accessible to eat; they’re aloof adhesive abundant that the sauces and toppings attach after acceptable a blah blend (though you ability get some side-eye from added motorists if you attack to eat one while driving).
Restaurateur and aliment developer Thuan La created a gluten-free K-dog with an all-beef hot dog at the center.
Courtesy of Mama’s Noodle Cafe
Although rice crisis dogs accept become a top agent lately, they’re not the capital allure at Mama’s Noodle Cafe. Pho and ramen are the stars; you can body your own pho bowl, and La is accurately appreciative of the acceptable Japanese recipes for his ramen broths and toppings. On the drinks side, Vietnamese coffee, boba teas, bake-apple smoothies and all-overs add to the pan-Asian ambit of flavors. La, a self-professed tea fanatic, says he hopes to add a baby tea garden abaft the restaurant already the acclimate warms up; in the meantime, go with the tea he already offers forth with a ambit of single-serving cakes and added pastries from chef Emma Nemechek, who has formed for some of the city’s top resorts and hotels.
Despite the adjacency of the aerial school, La says that teenagers are alone a baby allotment of his all-embracing business — abnormally aback academy schedules accept been so capricious over the accomplished few months. Dinner hours, though, accept admiring a loyal following, including added chefs attractive to try the abnormal card items.
Innovation comes in abounding forms, and as it turns out, alike the apprehensive accompaniment fair blah dog can acquisition new life. Aloof authority the ketchup and mustard!
Mama’s Noodle Cafe is accessible from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, alms adverse account for takeout and bound centralized dining. Call 303-770-6833 for details, and acquisition the restaurant’s card on a cardinal of online platforms (including Yelp and Grubhub) for analeptic and delivery.
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Mark Antonation is the Westword Aliment & Drink Editor. He got his alpha by bistro at and autograph about every restaurant on Federal Boulevard and continues to awning busline Denver’s assorted all-embracing aliment scene, as able-bodied as the city’s bound alteration restaurant landscape. Mark was awarded Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association in 2018.
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