Ottawa’s Noodlefest 2015

Two bowls of pork, lam and yam soup with chopsticks.

I sipped, I slurped and I filled my stomach with delicious noodle dishes at Ottawa’s Noodlefest. It was the second annual Noodlefest organized by the Prive group (same group that put on the 613 Night Market).  The location couldn’t be more perfect, because after I finished my regular Saturday shift at Aritiza, JD met me and we just walked over to the beautiful Shaw Centre without having to brave the outdoors. The copious amounts of snow that fell that night made the roads a bit of a circus, so we were thankful we didn’t have far to go.

Meg using chop sticks to eat a soup dish from Gong Fu Bao.
I am enjoying a dish from Gong Fu Bao.

Noodlefest had advanced ticket sales and they were sold out a day before the event. Luckily we purchased ours about a month in advance.  Fear not, there were some tickets available at the door at a slightly inflated price. The way that the event worked was that everyone had to pay a general entrance fee, and then everyone paid for what they ate from each vendor.  Each vendor had a couple of dishes available and charged on average of $5. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options were available so there was certainly something for everyone. The majority of the vendors were Asian restaurants or food carts. The exceptions were a Peruvian vendor called Petit Peru and a Latin American vendor called Mambo. Not too mention, there were also two dessert vendors to appeal to the sweet cravings and they were Hot Cream Holes and Mr Churritos.

A dish of glass noodles with dumplings made by Raon Kitchen.
Raon Kitchen offered pork and vegetarian dumplings and glass noodles.

It was impossible for JD and I to get to every vendor and try a dish. Some of the lineups were insanely long and I was a little bit hangry. I didn’t pack enough patience for some of those lines. We beelined it straight for Raon Kitchen and Gong Fu Bao because we knew from previous dining experiences that they were guaranteed to be good. And they were. I discovered a new found love for dumpings after eating two vegetarian ones from Raon Kitchen. The yam and glass noodle soup served from Gong Fu Bao was also a favourite from the night. I cannot lie, I did not know what some of the dishes that I tried really were. Some of the vendors had descriptions of what the dishes were, and I recognized some of the ingredients or elements and just ordered it based on that. Nonetheless, all of the choices I made were good life choices and I liked all of the dishes I ate.

Crowd shot of people lining up at Noodlefest at all of the various vendors.
There were lineups at every food vendor that ranged from 20 to 50 (or more) people deep.
A laddle scoops out some soup from a pot and pours it into a customer's container.
The loving hands that made the soup at Gong Fu Bao.
Meg standing next to the sign for the Jonathan Korecki stand at Noodlefest.
Local celebrity chef Jonathan Korecki had a stand at Noodlefest.

We ran into lots of familiar faces at the Noodlesfest event that night. Some were coworkers, local celebrities and even half of JD’s softball team. After talking to a few people, they all agreed that this year’s event was much better organized than the previous year. This year, there was ample seating to actually be able to sit down and enjoy the food as oppose to minimally scattered bar height standing tables that were provided last year. Sometimes the details such as seating can make or break an event. There was also an increase in the number of cash bars open to minimize the amount of time it took to get people their wine and beer to enjoy with their food.

Two bowls of pork, lam and yam soup with chopsticks.
A pork, lam and yam soup that was served by Gong Fu Bao.

Currently, Noodlefest is just an annual event being held each Winter in Ottawa. With it’s proven success and generous local support, maybe Prive will consider making Noodlefest a semi-annual event. You can count on JD and I to be at the next Noodlefest.

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