Rating: 7 / 10
There can be no purer quest than the hunt for the perfect bowl of food. Mountains of imposters, valleys of pretenders all stand in your way, but the faithful seeker shall find his reward, if he prevails.
Newly opened in downtown Kamppi, Noodle Master proclaimed to be the 1st hand-made noodle restaurant in Finland. To be honest, i'm not sure how many others would have even attempted this strategy in a Scandinavian capital, but you have to respect their risk management.
Fate had us dine at Noodle Master due to the fact that Vibami further up the road was closed. I had been hankering for a Pho ever since touching down in the Finnish capital, but life had other plans. As we stood and considered our options on the street corner, it was decided to venture in and give this place a try.
A knot of uncertainty pierced my stomach just based on the name and overall vibe of the spot, but I've been known to be wrong numerous times.
My partner in crime opted for the Dan-Dan Noodles, and I for the Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup. We sat in fervid anticipation struggling to talk and instead turning our attention to the wafts of rich broth scenting the restaurant.
Tasting each others dishes before attacking our own proved a good strategy. The Dan-Dan was pleasantly flavoured and had a slight creamy kick to it. It was labelled as "Very Hot", but I knew before trying it that in Finland that was a 2/10 on the Asian chilli scale.
My soup had tender and juicy chunks of beef, generously portioned. The noodles were tasty and slurp-addictive, still maintaining a chew which you want. My only complaint, and one I relayed to the waiter later was the salt content. This was barkingly salty, like HOLY F*** salty. I am a man known for my tolerance of all things saline, but this was punchingly so.
I can only hope this was either a result of over-reducing or the chef having an accident in the kitchen, because if they tone down that part of the meal then this would be an absolute go-to on my Helsinki food route. This is authentic Chinese food served in a slightly cloying locale with polite, friendly staff. The prices were fair for the portion sizes and location.
Tone down the salt and you'll have a loyal, returning customer.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"