Images and shots of white carton boxes have been surfacing many movies and TV shows for a long time, and it wasn’t until Umai Wok that Lebanese could enjoy eating the fiery noodle and fried rice mixes.
Umai Wok is located in one of the most casual pathways of Mar Mikhael, Ibrahim Pacha Street, surrounded by burger bars, taco bars, crepe bars, and ice cream bars.
The smell of exotic flavors permeates the small sized noodle bar as the chef flames up the wok, cracks up an egg and begins adding ingredient after ingredient, be it the base itself or the wide selection of both savory and sweet toppings.
Modern colors, such as orange and dark grey, in addition to a nice touch of wood, decorate the noodle bar to the brim. The takeout boxes, also in a flashy orange and purple, make the food within it look even more succulent.
Customers get to choose from a variety of bases being traditional Chinese noodles, soba noodles, which are also gluten free, egg noodles, udon noodles, rice noodles, fried rice and steamed rice. Traditionally, it is best to add the egg in order to give the extra kick of flavor, but you may opt out, although you hardly feel the egg, which is a great plus! All selections come with a complimentary mix of white and red cabbage, onions, carrots, bean sprouts, and leeks.
In addition to the base, you can then choose up to four toppings for the medium sized box and six for the large sized box. The toppings, which are priced separately, can suit every craving; whether sweet, savory, spicy, vegetarian or even vegan. Some of the most favored additions include chicken breast, beef sirloin, mango, bamboo shoots, baby corn, and peanuts.
However, some of the ingredients need a touch of change, like the peanuts, which weren’t as crunchy or salty as anticipated. The rest of the ingredients were of great quality and show that the team dedicate the time to select the right, ripe and fine products to ensure customer satisfaction.
The best part of the experience is that you get to put together your own creation, be it with the choice of base, toppings, and not to forget the thick and thin sauces. For the spicy fans, Umai Wok offers sichuan, which is a soy-based dressing, and the sweet chili, a thick blend of ketchup, chilli pepper, vinegar, sugar, garlic and ginger. The chef recommends the teriyaki sauce for a more mild and sober taste.
Word of advice, ask the chef to reduce the amount of sauce in the mix because it could be either too thick or just too much, which might risk the enjoyment!
Umai Wok is a perfect place to go after a wild night of drinks, not only because it stays open till 3 am on the weekends, but also because it is both filling and satisfying. Not to forget that after spending most of your money on drinks, it’s best to stick to a street food meal not over USD 10.
They recently opened a second branch on Hamra, with a much larger venue and menu. Umai Wok developed appetizers, salads, soups, mains, and desserts to hearten the overall Asian experience with Chinese, Thai, and Japanese recipes.