Sunday, June 28, 2015

Prairie Noodle Shop Grand Finale Pop-Up #4

After successfully hosting three ramen pop-ups over the past year, Prairie Noodle Shop held their fourth and final event last Saturday evening. I had the pleasure of attending their third pop-up back in March, which you can read about by clicking here. The experience was so exciting and memorable that I knew I wouldn't be disappointed at their grand finale event. 

Final ramen pop-up held in Ernest's at NAIT.

Prairie Noodle Shop creates ramen inspired by prairie flavours using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Flavourful broth, handmade noodles, and quality toppings showcasing authentic flavours of the prairies transform a popular Japanese dish into something that is creative and original. The final ramen pop-up was held at Ernest's Dining Room located inside NAIT with seating times at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, and 7:30 PM. This time around, 150 bowls (up from 100 bowls) were served for more ramen lovers to enjoy! Just like their past pop-ups, each bowl cost $15 plus GST. Reservation tickets went live on Eventbrite a week before the event and sold out in under 5 minutes. I asked CJ to secure seats for us this time because he moves a lot quicker and manages to stay calm while constantly hitting the refresh button waiting for the link to be released on Twitter and Instagram. If you read my post about the previous pop-up, you'll know how anxious and nervous I was! The link appeared on Prairie Noodle Shop's Instagram profile first, so the moment we saw it CJ was able to get us tickets for the earliest seating time. Yay! A small victory for us. 

Arden of Prairie Noodle Shop telling us about our ramen for the evening!

Before we started eating, Arden of Prairie Noodle Shop explained that the night's feature bowl of ramen would be a classic meat and potatoes served tsukemen dipping style! An intriguing bowl very appropriate for a grand finale pop-up. Prairie Noodle Shop also believes in building and supporting our community, so it is in this spirit that they'll be donating $2 from every bowl sold to the late Constable Woodall's family via the trust fund set up at RBC. Cash donations were also accepted at the event, with the partners matching up to a total of $500 in donations. 

"Meat and Potatoes" served with a potato broth.

I was unfamiliar with dipping ramen, but thankfully Prairie Noodle Shop posted this link on their blog. This serving style known as tsukemen has the noodles and broth separated from each other, while ramen has all the components in one bowl. To eat tsukemen, you take a few noodle strands and lightly dip it into the broth. Even though that is how you typically eat tsukemen, others may prefer to eat the noodles by itself, have the broth act like a classic soup, or pour the broth over the noodles.

Noodles and toppings.
Potato broth.

Now let's talk about the details! Prairie Noodle Shop uses noodles that are fresh and locally made. These noodles were springy with a nice bite and had a certain texture that allowed it to grab onto the broth. I also liked being able to see the amount of noodles I had left in the bowl while I was eating. The dipping broth was a tangy potato broth that had a slight smokiness to it. I really enjoyed how flavourful the broth was. It was made to be dense but just thick enough to adhere to the noodles. The toppings included Alberta beef sourced from D'Arcy's Meat Market ground up "Dan dan" style, diced potatoes, pickled chilis, and an umeboshi egg. The spiciness of the ground beef was enjoyable and not too overwhelming, and I liked how the pickled chilis were added in just a small amount for an extra kick of heat. The addition of the potatoes to the ground beef reminded me of my Mom's take on a staple Filipino dish called giniling (Tagalog for "ground meat"). My Mom's giniling recipe is ground beef with diced potatoes usually accompanied by hard boiled eggs. I think it's pretty awesome how Prairie Noodle Shop's ground beef topping had me thinking of one of my all time favourite dishes to eat at home!


Prairie Noodle Shop's final pop-up bowl was amazing. All the components worked together to create a delicious eating experience. I also decided to save the umeboshi egg towards the end so when I finally tried it I was blown away by how good it tasted! Now I know why Arden described the egg as their "secret weapon". The slightly oozing yolk and soft egg whites were excellent. I also really liked how the egg was pink in colour (my favourite colour)! I totally could've eaten more than just the one in my bowl. 

CJ's review? "Right amount of spice. Even though how to eat it was confusing, it was manageable. It really felt like I was eating good old fashioned meat and potatoes although presented as a noodle soup." I do agree with him that eating this dish was kind of tricky, especially if you haven't mastered using chopsticks to pick up noodles. We found that we just dunked the noodles into the broth instead of lightly dipping, and doing so caused the broth to overpower the noodles. Nevertheless, we both really enjoyed trying dipping ramen for the first time - officially the fourth bowl of ramen I've had in my life!

Concept for future permanent location (sorry for the glare covering the logo)!

So what's next for Prairie Noodle Shop? They are hoping to open Edmonton's first designated ramen shop later this year! Pictured above is the concept for their future permanent location on 124 Street. I'm looking forward to having their ramen available regularly. It's been quite a journey for Prairie Noodle Shop so a big congratulations to everyone on the team for hosting four successful pop-ups! Also great job to everyone at Ernest's for providing a nice venue and excellent service! Don't forget to check out Prairie Noodle Shop's website and follow them on Twitter (@YEGNoodles) and Instagram (@yegnoodles) to stay up to date with news about their future opening!


  1. Stephanie, thank you and CJ so much for coming to our last two events! Your feedback is greatly appreciated, as is your (very well written) retelling of our pop ups. Looking forward to seeing the two of you in our permanent location. : )

    1. Thank YOU for hosting these awesome pop-ups! Can't wait to eat ramen at your future brick and mortar shop!