Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lamen Kazu (Liberdade)
R. Thomaz Gonzaga, 51

This weekend, Paulistas are celebrating the Chinese New Year in Liberdade. Yes, Liberdade is the Japanese part of town, but the two cultures collide in certain corners of the neighborhood. It's the Chinese Year-of-the-Dragon, and I hope that means one thing and one thing only...less rain in Sao Paulo.

I have been to Aska, another noodle-house in Liberdade, but my Japanese-Canadian friend, Mary, said that she found another place that was just as good. She definitely hit the mark. Lamen Kuzo has a different, slightly more upscale vibe than Aska. But it's not really upscale at all...just in comparison. The menu is similar...lots of different kind of lamens with different broths....but if you are still a bit confused, there's a decent English menu they will hand you whether you request it or not (if they hear you speaking English, that is!). Noodle bowls range in price from 17-25 Reais.

I opted for the Shoyu Tyashu. The noodles are thick and hearty...even a little chewy, in a good way. I'm not the most expert or avid pork-eater, but this particular bowl came with FOUR slices of pork. I had a small bite of one...I still don't really get how you eat a big slice of pork with chopsticks and a soup spoon. The dish was tasty...not overly powerful with any one flavor, but a nice simple taste of Japanese soul food in a bowl.

We also sampled the guioza, but I still insist that Mary's homemade ones are better than I have had in any restaurant. Ever.

Mary and Janhavi shared a cold noodle dish...and on a hot day, this actually seemed like the perfect option. Fresh veggies in a smooth and savory sesame-based sauce made the simple noodle dish pretty complex in texture and flavor...I would definitely try that sometime.

On a total non-foodie note, but almost as important (as I am a sucker for a nice, clean bathroom), definitely don't miss the ultra-modern toilet in the ladies' room (I didn't see what was in the men's bathroom, unfortunately). All I will say is that it was the most hi-tech toilet I have ever seen outside of someone's home. Worth a visit.

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