The most wonderful time of the year kicks off on November 6, when Talde’s Thanksgiving Ramen returns to menus for the next twenty days.
The turkey-dashi-based noodle soup meshes all of the flavors of the holiday in one intensely satisfying bowl: Pickled cranberries, wontons stuffed with creamed spinach, fish-cake-style stuffing roulades, char siu–inspired roast turkey slices and a drizzle of mushroom gravy tare create the curly noodle filled bowl, which is designed, like a Thanksgiving feast, to be shared.
“It’s for two, but most people are fat-asses and eat it for one; they crush it,” Dale Talde told me of the seasonally beloved dish, to my fat-ass surprise. “It was never mean to be for one—it’s almost a quart and a half of food in those bowls. But Thanksgiving is about eating and passing out, so I guess that’s the whole idea.”
Talde rolled out his turkey ramen in 2014 and has served it every November since, not changing the recipe since the first day it debuted on his Park Slope menu. “It’s just so good,” he said, following his affirmation of the soup’s tastiness with a few expletives I deeply agreed with.
New York restaurant workers almost always work on Thanksgiving (thanks, feast-free tiny apartment kitchens). To soften the blow of being in his work kitchen rather than family kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, Talde wanted to find a way to taste Thanksgiving before or after the holiday, and Thanksgiving ramen soon came to his mind. “This is what I would do with Thanksgiving leftovers,” he said simply, noting that in his house, there are typically no leftovers: “People house it.”
Sandwiches may be the go-to leftovers recipe, but Talde said that the Asian vocabulary of food is to repurpose it. “In Asian cultures, you can turn leftovers into shit like fried rice, ramen… And that’s how this came together.” Talde said the ramen wasn’t even a stretch, because all of the savory flavors of Thanksgiving lend themselves well to a bowl of soup that packs in carbs, tartness, creaminess and umami.
While some may be tempted to mix the entire bowl of Thanksgiving elements together to meld the flavors, that’s not how Talde eats his epic creation. “I don’t ever tell people how to eat things, but I’m a guy who likes to appreciate things in moments,” he said. “I like the fact that I can eat three bites of the noodles with the turkey, save the pickle for midway through for a brush of acidity to wash my palate out and then get into the wonton, which is perfect bite with spinach and gravy.”
Unfortunately, the Thanksgiving ramen isn’t going to be a year-round item anytime soon. “It’s a lot for us to prepare in the kitchen,” Talde said, noting the dish is a popular seller, and the incentive of eating the leftovers of the leftover-inspired dish is enough to motivate cooks to endure the extra work in November. “Thanksgiving is about family and sharing,” Talde said, “So yeah, we get to eat it too.”
Talde’s Thanksgiving Ramen will be on the dinner menu at Talde Park Slope and Talde Jersey City from November 6 through 26.