Winging it with crunch and spice

Noodle soup is what the place is named after, but some of the other Asian comfort food on the menu at Nonoo Ramen (480 Elmwood Ave., 867-7877) has caught the attention of neighborhood diners.

One of the stars is Korean chicken wings ($12), a plate of super-crunchy chicken wings doused liberally in a spicy sauce based on gochujang, the Korean fermented chile paste.

Chef-owner Chris Van Every said he uses 10 free-range chicken wings per order. The wings are cut in-house, so the flats keep their wing tips, an extra chewable reward. The wings arrive on a bed of soy-tossed glass noodles, chewy clear noodles made from yams and found elsewhere in chapchae, the classic Korean noodle stir-fry.

"The potato starch is what makes it," Van Every said, referring to their unusual crunchiness. "I'm cooking them to order, tossed in the starch, seasoned with togarishi Japanese pepper blend. It's a nice little change, and it doesn't feel like a breading."

I found myself wishing for a hose-down afterward because they're messy, but I was not inclined to stop eating them. The sauce -- gochujang paste, honey, soy sauce vinegar -- is intoxicatingly spicy, but not painful. "That's the whole hook," Van Every said.

-- Andrew Z. Galarneau