Swimming in Broth and Feeling Ducky
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BY RACHEL BREIT
For this item at Little Village, don’t pick up a menu — look up at the chalkboard. Duck Leg Ramen ($10.95) is waiting there for you. Order it and relax at a table. Listen to the overhead sound of chirping birds and escape from your downtown cubicle. Get hit in the face (nicely) with the smell of star anise. Pick up the braised duck leg and watch it debone itself. But don’t stop there.
“The leg is very tender and falls off the bone, so you can debone it yourself and mix it up with the ramen. It mixes very well with the mustard cabbage,” says David Chang, vice president of Little Village. “This is not a traditional Chinese noodle, but personally we feel the ramen is the best fit. The texture is nice and very smooth and it goes well with the broth.”
Flavored with special fish stock, the broth imparts a rich flavor that pairs up perfectly with the main feature — a duck leg braised for two hours. The combined flavors prove irresistible and are best summed up by Chang himself: “I find myself wanting to eat more.” But, if for some reason the tender, fall-off-the-bone leg isn’t your style, order the ramen instead with a duck breast for an additional $1.50.
Another item worth looking up for is Jai ($11.95). Kick start your Chinese New Year with this traditional dish that is only served during this time of the year. The vegetarian dish is designed to nourish in more ways than one.
“You are what you eat in Chinese tradition and Jai has so much symbolism. It brings good fortune and good health,” Chang says. Mushroom, bamboo shoots, snow peas, water chestnuts, Chinese cabbage, red dates, fried tofu, won yee fungus and black moss are stir-fried together with long rice and red bean paste for a smoky, earthy and hearty meal.
Little Village Noodle House
1113 Smith St., Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-midnight