Walking to the entrance of United Noodles, I felt like I was in a post-Apocalyptic world where all normal, strip-mall supermarkets moved their inventory to bunker-like warehouses. I guess it makes sense that United Noodle occupies a warehouse like building because as the “Largest Asian Grocery in the Midwest Since 1972,” it needs some space. It’s not that large compared to the mammoth 99 Ranch Market in California but, I am appreciative that it’s there. United Noodle is a destination place because you’re probably not going to be just strolling around the industrial park. Take a bus and you will be that person casually strolling through the industrial park.
The in-store deli is called the “Unideli” which seems like a lazy name and too reminiscent of unpleasant things (Unibrow, Unabomber). The seating area is plain, unadorned food court style, with a divider plastered with a pixelated photograph of Rachael Ray and two people, presumably the owners of United Noodles. Rachael Ray’s eyebrows are arched in surprise as she smiles manically. I’m guessing she went to the Unideli at some point (I have no confirmation on this but I remember her food network show “$40 a Day”?). The food available is a variety of East Asian food, like Taiwan beef noodle soup, Japanese udon, ramen, and sushi. There are tea eggs, some rice, noodle and meat dishes in those warming trays. I ordered the miso ramen. It was around $9 so eh…not that cheap, I guess. In the ramen, there were ramen noodles, a lot of bamboo shoots, one swirly pink fish cake, one slice of pork, one half of a tea egg, some bok choy, and some seaweed. It’s a big bowl and I couldn’t really eat too much of that bamboo. The bok choy was slightly bitter and didn’t taste right in the ramen and the broth itself was not miso-y tasting enough. However, I do cut them slack because it is a food court. I would be up for trying other things that they offer. There is free tea which was a terrible idea for my bladder, considering I took a lengthy bus ride to get there. Eating at the Unideli was fun because I saw two small children with mini shopping carts running around with mini shopping carts filled with cutie food like Hello Panda cookies or mochi or something.
Things you can should buy here: dried squid, (it’s like beef jerky), tofu snacks (meat flavored tofu snacks, also like beef jerky), a gallon of Sriracha sauce, ‘Manhood Tea;’ Spam from the ‘Great Wall,’ (made in Canada); deluxe instant noodles, (no more of that Maruchan please). There is seriously so much stuff to try. Be careful though–if something’s on sale, check the expiration date. And don’t buy the Thai iced tea popsicles. They were suffering from freezer burn and they looked like they were covered in gooey orange-colored blood.