Cheu Noodle Pop-Up with Ben Puchowitz

On Sunday September 23, 2012, COOK hosted Cheu Noodle Bar‘s 4th and possibly its final pop up.  Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle Bar & Matyson BYOB  are about 3-4 months out from opening their highly anticipated noodle bar  located somewhere in the Midtown Village area.  This was the first pop up that COOK has hosted and it was quite the success!  Hopefully there will be more pop ups offered at COOK in the future!

With Cheu Noodle Bar’s opening day menu planned out, 32 people in 2 seatings were treated to a sneak peek.

Ben Puchowitz (left) with Cheu Noodle Bar Business Partner and friend Shawn Darragh (right)

Some people have the misconception that Cheu would be a ramen only joint, joining what could be considered the second wave of ramen shops to open in Philadelphia.  Ben acknowledges that there are many different types of broths and styles of ramen.  He does not cling to a particular style, experimenting with creating his own ramen and refining it with each pop up.  Ramen will be on the menu, but will not be the main focus.  His menu at Cheu Noodle will consist of vegetables, snacks, and hot or cold noodles.

Menu for the Pop up

First Course: Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts cooked in a cast iron skillet to get a good char, and everything tastes better with butter.

seasoning the sprouts

Fresh out the frying pan into the fire, Ben be the, Brussels sprouts number 1 supplier

Ben made his own XO sauce which consisted of country ham, dried shrimp, dried scallop, chiles, garlic & ginger

Right of the scallions are Tofu Noodles.  I didn’t know tofu came in noodle form, this was a first for me.  Ben would also be using this noodle for the first time.

Brussels Sprouts: Tofu noodles, XO Sauce, Mint

Second Course: Cheeseburger Steamed Buns

I went through a whole range of emotions when I first heard Ben say Cheeseburger Steamed Buns.  He’re an analogy.  Jessie Spano : Caffeine Pills : : Hahri Shin : Cheeseburger Steamed Buns.   I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared!  Not so much the ” I’m so scared: part but the “I need them, Zach! I need them!” part, you get the idea.

The patties were an 80/20 blend seasoned with Togarashi a Japanese chili spice, found commonly as a condiment in ramen shops

Ben getting a bicep workout, lifting the heavy cast iron skillets

Shawn steaming Ben’s Buns

Patties topped with Asiago cheese

Steamed Buns, hot stuff.  Also, made by Ben.

The issue with steamed buns are they harden too quickly or become wet and gummy.  Ben provided a trick after making the buns: steam them for couple minutes and freeze them until you’re ready to use and re-steam.  This should keep your buns nice and warm not wet or hard.

Cheeseburger Steamed Buns: Miso Truffle Aioli

Ben made the Miso Truffle Aioli by buzzing, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, miso paste with orange juice and white truffle oil.  I need these cheeseburger steamed buns in a Hamburglar or Wimpy kind of way.

Third Course: Pork Belly Ramen

Beautiful soy marinated eggs

Ben wouldn’t divulge who his noodle guy is but these were definitely toothier than most ramen noodles I’ve had.

working the noodles

Shawn plating the ramen

Close up, in for a swim

Pork Belly Ramen: Pickled sea beans, egg, shoulder

Fourth Course: Dragonfruit Juice

Dragonfruit Juice: Coconut, Thai Basil, Mayan Chili

Cheu has been providing fresh juices with each of their pop ups, which have been so successful you can now find them in Good Karma Cafe.  As with tradition for each pop up I attend, I would spike my juice with some Soju.  Look for Cheu Noodle Bar to hopefully have a liquor license.

Check out Ben’s tasting menu at Matyson next week October 1st-4th which will be featuring “Squash”


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