In this monthly feature, Apt613 asks blog contributors and local figures about their takeout habits and highlights to help you find new tasty treats to discover or revisit. We want to hear about takeout you loved! Leave comments below and if you’d like to contribute to a future edition of Takeout Talk, email <email@example.com>.
Highlights this week
- Hey Kitchen (710 Somerset St. W)
- Hungry Ninja (1529 Merivale Road)
Lives in: The Glebe
Day job: Energy trader
Blogs at http://ottawa.eatthistown.ca/
Instagram: @ eatthistownottawa
I’ve heard of omurice, the Japanese fusion dish of an omelet filled with fried rice, in digital foodie circles, but it’s not exactly common in Ottawa. Luckily for me, omurice and other east Asian comfort foods are the specialty of Hey Kitchen, a funky little spot with a diner vibe in Chinatown.
Hey Kitchen isn’t content with just selling plain ol’ omurice though; you can get it with a variety of protein toppings and sauces! I opted for the tonkatsu (breaded and fried pork cutlet) and curry sauce. The fried-rice filling was a good texture, with plump, medium-grained rice dotted with flecks of mushroom and stretchy bits of melted cheese. The egg exterior was lightly fried, and held up surprisingly well to its plentiful filling.
I was impressed that the tonkatsu still retained its crispness after a walk to find a place to sit and eat, and it was sliced up into easily-chopstickable pieces. The curry sauce was in the traditional Japanese style – not as big and bright as a typical South Asian curry sauce – and added further layers of flavour to this hearty dish.
It may not check all the boxes on Canada’s Food Guide, but Hey Kitchen’s omurice is a great meal!
Lives in: Centretown
Day job: Works in 3D tech to earn money to buy more snacks
Hungry Ninja, a store specializing in imported Japanese and Korean packaged foods, is poised to become Merivale’s East Asian snack haven. The pint-sized store, located at 1529 Merivale Road, stocks its shelves with a smattering of chocolate, candy, chips, instant noodles, ice cream, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. The crown jewel is the mix-and-match Kit Kat mini table, offering customers a rainbow of rotating flavours, including maple, peach parfait, banana caramel, sweet potato, passionfruit, sakura (cherry blossom), and sparkling wine, to name a few.
I commend their efforts in curating such a cross-section of sweet, savoury, salty, and spicy flavours representative of Japanese and Korean tastes. The shopkeeper was also happy to make recommendations, especially since some product packaging contains few English words and/or unfamiliar flavours.
Overall, it was a fun experience, prices were reasonable, and I left with quite the haul. A surprising favourite was the Japanese sour plum (ume) chips (pink bag, pictured). They were incredibly unique, offering a combination of sweet, floral, and gently sour flavours. The Boss canned coffee has been a huge hit for the store; I personally enjoyed the milky version (blue can, pictured).