Meat Glue Week: Shrimp Noodles

I love noodles, I always have and I always will. But there was one time in my life when I renounced not only noodles but all Chinese food. I was four and for my day care lunch my mom had packed me my favourite: pan-fried Shanghai noodles. At lunch time I was super-excited to dig in, but just when I was lifting the fork to my mouth I heard a loud chorus of “ewws.” I turned to look what everyone was “eww-ing” about, but then I realized, it was me. “Stephanie’s eating worms!” came the chant and I soon lost my appetite. That afternoon, in the car on the way home I told my mom I never wanted to eat noodles or even Chinese food ever again. From then on it was going to be sandwiches or nothing.

Thankfully I grew up and learned the error of my ways. I haven’t turned my back on noodles ever since. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a noodle I didn’t like, so with meat glue in the fridge and a loose instructional paragraph in Momofuku, I decided to give shrimp noodles a go.

Shrimp noodles were invented by Wylie Dufresne of wd~50. He figured, since you can glue proteins to other proteins, why not to itself? Dufresne purees shrimp, adds meat glue and extrudes noodles into a 140˚ water circulator. After 15 minutes, they’re removed and ready to eat. The whole thing sounded easy enough. I should have known better though – there is no ease when it comes to the likes of Chang and Dufresne.

I had some shrimp puree courtesy or my mother-in-law, so I mixed some meat glue in, popped it in a piping bag and went crazy. Surprisingly, the noodles held their shape. It was exciting for a few minutes, then all the noodles came together into a solid brain-like noodle mass. After draining, it was clear that the noodles wouldn’t hold their shape in a noodle dish. They were delicate and close to the falling apart point.

I wasn’t about to eat the shrimp like that so I did what anyone does when they want to make something taste good: I deep fried it. The shrimp noodles turned into shrimp noodle fritter and they were really tasty dipped in sriracha. The noodle-y texture had lots of surface area which meant the fritters were super crisp and crunchy.

With my home made batch of my meat glue shrimp noodles an ultimate fail, I’ll have to wait until I head out to NYC to sample the real thing.

9 Comments add yours

  1. Oh, Wylie, you crazy coyote….. Nice improvisation! Anyways, I bet they taste better deep-fried. Check that, I think Anything tastes better deep-fried :)

    Oh deep-fried goodness, you taste so good, but are so bad.

    steph on May 14th, 2010 at 10:36 am
  2. Shrimp fries!
    Hmm, bacon puree = bacon fries.

    Bacon fries sound awesomely delicious and dangerous.

    steph on May 14th, 2010 at 10:38 am
  3. Your cooking courage amazes me! Your blog is inspiring! As an Asian kid growing up in a small town in Canada, I can relate to you school lunch story. Luckily we grow up and wise up.

    Growing up is so full of quirky, painful experiences, I’m glad you only have to do it once!

    steph on May 14th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  4. That reminds me of when I was in first grade and got the vegetable with the school lunch – that day it was peas. Asian kids always eat their veggies, right? I sat down at the lunch table (my first day in a new school in the middle of the semester, mind you) and everyone chorused “Ewww you got PEAS!?!”

    I never ate them or brought them to lunch again. One time my mom packed me spaghetti she had put peas in, and when she went to bed, I snuck into the kitchen and picked every single one out. And ate them – cause Asians are also taught to not waste food =P

    I love peas and I love your story!

    steph on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:45 am
  5. I just made a comment on another page about adding this type of noodle (not fried) to your ramen recipe. That is a total Duh moment for me. Thanks

    Coach Dan Cox, PhD on March 22, 2014 at 1:17 am
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