Buckwheat Sesame Soba Noodles from Vanessa’s Dumpling House (310 Bedford Avenue, 718-218-8809)
This fine evening, right when we were about to inhale a wide variety of dumplings, buns, and noodles at Vanessa’s, we asked a fellow diner to pass us the sriracha.
He told us: “It’s watered down.”
Perplexed, we looked at the bold, red liquid in the bottle and noticed that it had more of a Cholula-like consistency than Huy Fong*-brand sriracha’s typical thick, garlicky paste.
Our dining posse agreed: Something was amiss!
When we tasted the hot sauce, it def seemed a bit off.
Though it was pleasantly sriracha-like — and in the characteristic green-capped, rooster-labeled bottle — it def was not Huy Fong, as per the packaging.
Did Vanessa’s water it down, we wondered? Maybe the management added something like rice vinegar to cut down on condiment costs?
Being as hungry for the truth as Chinese food, we rang up the restaurant.
We were given a manager’s cell number, and he told us this: It’s not Huy Fong sriracha — it’s a home-made hot sauce which, along with the soy sauce, is simply served in Huy Fong bottles.
So there you go — Year of the Takeout’s illustrious investigative team has solved yet another one of life’s great mysteries!
And, with that said, let’s talk about the food.
We weren’t enthralled by the $6 sesame noodles — too much oil, not enough dimension in terms of flavor.
However, the cold veggies wrapped in tofu skin — not pictured because of an awful memory card — are well worth their weight in any kind of sriracha.
That’s because they are a masterfully seasoned mix of hearty mushrooms wrapped in salty, squishy, and thin layers of bean curd.
*NOTE: Yes, we know there are other brands of sriracha, because sriracha is technically a genre of hot sauce and not a brand, etc. However, let’s be honest — when we think of sriracha, we typically think of Huy Fong, and there are arguments to be made that this is because it’s better than other srirachas. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments field below, though!
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.