It took nearly six months to find this gem amidst Minneapolis’s food delivery scene, but now that I have… I ask you, reader, when was the last time something packed in Styrofoam and plastic proved so wonderful that you broke down in a fit of giggles? Has such a thing happened even once in your lifetime?
The first day of autumn is shaping up to be a stunner, but remember a couple weeks back when the temperature dropped, causing the dread of this coming winter to poke out like a rude, depressive turtle? Only a handful of (temporary) cures for that sort of malaise exist, and for me they are: carbs, spice, surprises, and the ocean.
On the Sunday night in question, stuck in the midst of this never-ending pandemic, my cabinets were b.a.r.e. and (though I may crave one of these, too) a plane ticket wasn’t an option. Too weary to drive to Columbia Heights for Dong Yang, I landed on getting food from Dong Hae (their cousin establishment, in restaurant form) delivered to my doorstep, including this innocent item:
It checked plenty of the crucial boxes: noods, the promise of chilies, some of the sea for my mouth, and a little discovery because that description could, frankly, mean anything! And as a dumpster, I knew I’d eat it no matter what.
Still, nothing would prepare me for its unboxing, for there may be no more under-sold dish in the metro area than Dong Hae’s Spicy Noodle Soup. As the contents of the separate delivery containers (thick squiggles in their clam shell; broth, etc. in its Styrofoam quart) collided, my reaction was not unlike this:
Through maniacal laughter, I may or may not have cackled aloud to no one, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” as the second-to-largest bowl I own overflowed.
…Because when have you ever had a $14 soup land on your doorstep, only to miraculously dump out HALF A CRAB, too?
That half-crab wasn’t the only thing that led to a 15-minute fit of giggles and texting friends dinner pics, though. Each bite revealed bay shrimp, a head-on prawn the size of my palm, a trio of mussels, clams, and so much octopus it might finally warrant a collective noun. Swimming alongside half the ocean were fistfuls of whole chilies, with more ground up to a savory base sludge that was fortified with kimchi, greens, and even more sliced peppers and veggies.
The result was nothing short of a slurpable, shuckable masterpiece.
Dong Hae’s modestly named soup arrived like perfectly timed proof that astounding dishes remain available for our takeout pleasure…