Memorial Day: Remembrances of Cold Noodles Past

On Memorial Day, when we honor those in uniform, I’m eternally gratefully to those that have served.


This holiday was always the official start of New York City summers. Manhattan would empty out and become a ghost town. I fondly recall my beautiful school friend Christine, who eventually packed up and moved to Europe. It was Chris that introduced me to my first bowl of cold noodles at a small but bustling Chinese place on Broadway and Canal Street in NYC’s Chinatown. Being of Chinese descent and her father owning a Jersey establishment, she was the conduit and teacher to what are now some of my favorite Chinese items such as Scallion Pancakes, dumplings and Spicy Cold Noodles with Peanut Butter.

There are a number of variations hailing from throughout Asia (and adapted by Americans) using cold rice noodles with a different nut butters. Mixed into that is some water, chili paste or red pepper flakes, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, citrus and ginger. Incredibly simple and great for a hot summer day of memories and recollections as well as creating new ones. Definitely, tons of carbs for walking the myriad of Manhattan hot, steaming streets which as poor college students, we did often. It would be Chris, Teresa, Annie and me hiking from the bottom of Broadway to South Central Park overwhelmed by the displays in shop windows.

Spicy Cold Asian Peanut Noodles ala New York City

Whenever the weather is beautiful, I break this out of my memory banks. Immediately as I taste the sweet and spicy paste perfecting the right amount of heat, sweetness and chewiness of the noodles, I think of Christine and other really important friends that I have been apart of my life while on this planet. It’s a funny thing how food does that don’t you think? Enjoy your Memorial Day with those you love and love you in return.

You Will Need:
Cold Noodles (made ahead and chilled) about a half box of spaghetti or rice noodles.
1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter (or chunky depending on your preference. You can use sesame, almond and nut butter will do.)
Chili garlic paste or sauce/ red pepper flakes
Teaspoon of honey
Quartered lemon/lime
Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon each of grated ginger and garlic

Let’s Finish This Puppy:
1. In a small bowl, we are mixing the nut butter with a couple squirts of chili garlic paste or a couple of dashes of red pepper flakes.
2. Add some water, maybe about a cup to thin out the butter into a creamier sauce. Add a little water at a time, maybe a 1/2 cup each time. It will thicken back up.
3. Add the honey and citrus. Mix.
4. Couple of dashes of sesame oil plus the ginger and garlic. Mix until…
5. Once you have reached a consistency of a thin paste, pour it over the cold noodles. If it starts to get clumpy and a little more water by the teaspoon ful. Chop up some scallions and/or cucumber for a garnish. Voila….

Vegan to boot. Serve this with simply grilled chicken, beef, tofu or even some halibut might be a nice twist.