Feast your eyes on the first episode of 613 Flavours, a new YouTube series delving into the diversity of cultures in Ottawa through food.
Join us as we check out some of the best ramen Ottawa has to offer. We eat, we meet chefs, we have a good time. It’s the pilot episode for a web series on 613TV, our blog’s newly minted YouTube channel.
In this episode, host Sean Nauth and his guide Morio Fukunaga talk to chefs at a noodle shop in Chinatown, a pho joint in Centretown, and a newcomer franchise from Toronto:
- Ginza Ramen (832 Somerset St W)
- Saigon Pho (232 Bank St)
- Sansotei (153 Bank St)
To get a sense of the show and where it’s going, we chatted with local filmmaker Hingman Leung, who along with host Sean Nauth co-produces 613 Flavours. They’re already thinking about what foods to feature in episodes two, three, four…
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Apt613: Where were you when the idea for 613 Flavours came about?
Hingman Leung: We were chatting about our mutual love of discovering and eating food, at a party, and there was just so much mutual excitement that we decided to make a show about it. I felt like there wasn’t enough of a celebration of the authentic cuisines from around the world, available in Ottawa, or even diverse voices telling the stories of what makes Ottawa. It was a chance to get to know the owners of our favourite Middle Eastern, Asian, African, Latin American restaurants.
How did you meet your ramen guide, Morio Fukunaga?
We knew we weren’t going to be the experts, but wanted to have people on our team who knew the food of each episode, someone who has cooked it or grew up with it. We sent word out through our friends and it turned out someone knew someone. Morio signed on as our ramen guide right off the bat and we’re so grateful.
How did you choose these three ramen restaurants? Did one emerge as your favourite?
We wanted to show three spots, specifically, to get a good feel for what’s out there. It would have been impossible to feature all of our favourite restaurants that prepare ramen, so we thought about some themes. What are we curious about? What do we want to try?
Ginza is one of the first in Ottawa to be a dedicated ramen spot, so it was a must try for us. Then we wanted to go to an unlikely place. Saigon Pho had just started to advertise ramen at the time, and we were so curious, so we decided to give it a shot. Sansotei is the obvious choice being one of the newest that consistently has lines out the door. Ottawans don’t typically line up for food, given there’s so much choice. So of course we had to try it.
It’s so hard to choose a favourite among so many great options – and we haven’t even talked about Datsun! I love the black garlic anything from Sansotei, and love that Ginza serves a vegetarian ramen, a highlight we couldn’t miss. At Saigon Pho it’s definitely a novelty to be able to have pho and ramen at the same time.
This is the pilot episode of what has potential to be a long-running series… What foods do you want to explore this year?
All of the food! We want to know what Ottawans want to see too – what do viewers want us to try? The obvious one is shawarma, and we’ve talked about pupousa, ceviche, tacos, Thai, pho, southern fried chicken, dumplings, arepas, Korean fried chicken… the list is endless.
Leave a comment with your suggestions for Episode 2.