Keeyoung Kim is returning to his roots.
The chef-owner of Sura Eats, who started the popular Korean restaurant as a pop up before opening a space inside Parlor Food Hall, plans to open a three-month noodle bowl pop up next month.
Starting Feb. 4, Sura Noodle Bar will take over the spot formerly held by ChickHoovenSwine BBQ on the second floor of Parlor, serving up Korean-inspired noodle dishes and sides that go well beyond what Kim currently offers at Sura Eats.
“During the fall of 2020, we wanted to do ‘secret menu’ items at Sura Eats, with the purpose of having fun, pushing boundaries of the food we put out, and to bring something fresh to our menu for our customers,” explains Kim. “We called it 'Taste Test Tuesday' and we did soups, noodles and some other fun dishes, but every time we did noodles, we would sell out more quickly than other nights. We were then approached by Parlor to do a three-month noodle pop up at one of the vacant stalls, and it sounded like a great opportunity.”
Sura Noodle Bar will serve comforting Korean dishes all centered around different types of noodles. Kimchi Shin Ramyun, for instance, is a brothy Korean noodle bowl most closely related to Japanese ramen, except that it is usually enjoyed at home and made from instant noodles instead of fresh noodles.
Kim explains that one of the most popular brands of instant ramyun in Korea is Shin Ramyun, and this dish will be his take on a homemade Shin Ramyun pork broth served with pork belly, kimchi, shiitake mushrooms, roasted gim (roasted seaweed), a soy marinated egg and chile-sesame oil. A vegan version, Mushroom Ramyun, will feature housemade mushroom broth, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, carrots, roasted gim and soy-scallion sauce.
“I love noodles; they are a delicious vessel for sauces and broths, and they are also fun to eat, especially when loud slurping is involved,” says Kim.
Another will focus on Chicken Kalguksu or “knife noodles,” a popular street stall dish that is similar to chicken noodle soup. Kim starts with a housemade chicken broth and adds chicken, noodles, zucchini, carrots and roasted gim and soy-scallion sauce.
“Specifically, in Korean food, there is so much influence from other cultures – for example, Japanese ramen inspired Korean Ramyun, and Chinese Zha Jiang Mian inspired Korean Jajangmyeon. I'm excited to explore these influences and use combinations of flavors, noodle types and techniques to create delicious and fun dishes,” Kim says.
Side dishes will include a spicy cucumber salad, popcorn chicken tossed in soy-sesame citrus sauce with a garlic-chile mayo dipping sauce and cauliflower bites tossed in a housemade spice mix with a vegan garlic-chile mayo.
Kim has strategically designed the menu at Sura Noodle Bar to leave a space to highlight a rotating noodle dish created in collaboration with other local Asian-American chefs.
“When I think about what has helped me get through the pandemic, I think about friendship and collaboration,” he says. “There are so many unique recipes, cultures, traditions in other countries, which has influenced how I view food today and has influenced how food has evolved throughout Korean history. I hope to continue to learn from amazing chef friends in KC and hope to highlight some noodle dishes that are significant to them and their cultures.”
Sura Noodle Bar will host its soft opening on Fri., Jan. 29 and Sat., Jan. 30 from 5pm until sold out. After that, the pop up will be open for lunch and dinner starting Feb. 4 for dine-in, carryout and delivery. Sura Noodle Bar will be open Thursday from 11am to10pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm and Sunday from 11am to 9pm.
Sura Noodle Bar by Sura Eats (located inside Parlor KC), 1707 Locust St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri, suranoodlebar.com