“COVID-19 has hit hard on every single one of us, we are blessed that we could help each other,” said Dean Chan, the owner of Umami Noodle Bar and an experienced chef who has decades of Japanese culinary experience in both Hong Kong and Calgary.
Before the Alberta Relaunch during the pandemic, Dean felt that he could do more than just take-out & delivery options for their patrons; thus, Umami initiated a weekly give-away campaign in April to support frontline workers and it was well received! Then, they followed through in May with another collaborative effort to bring free food to 200 other families in Calgary.
“Fresh food makes people feel happy and feel cared for, as simple as that.”
Umami, a loanword from the Japanese, means ‘freshness’. It goes together with ‘sweetness’, ‘sourness’, ‘bitterness’, and ‘saltiness’ to round out the five basic tastes scientists believe what human beings have.
“Isn’t it true we encompass different tastes in life, as well? What we can only do is to focus on what we can control. Therefore, Umami’s goal is to always bring fresh food to our clients.”
Located in the inner city (16 Ave. & 2 St N.W.), there is a catchy icon – a large, red bowl of noodle – at the restaurant front. The moment you go in, you immediately feel the warmth and coziness of this place that has a clean and modern design, and a signature blackboard dedicated for patrons to graffiti.
“At the beginning, we used the edge of the wall to jot down reservations when patrons came in,” said Linh, Dean’s significant other, who is the other mastermind at the noodle bar. “Then, people began writing down their names, their feelings, where they are from, adding encouraging words and emojis whatnot. I thought to myself – why don’t we just have this giant wall as a makeshift wall of reviews?”
Linh is also a Certified Sake Professional granted by the Sake Education Council in Japan; a merit that adds quality to patrons’ dining experience.
Updates on their latest weekly specials and regarding reservations are through their Instagram, @umaminoodlebar. Dean & Linh once again appreciate everyone’s support during this trying time as they observe physical distancing for dine-ins. All menu items are available for take-out.
Address: 305 16 Ave NW
Author and Interviewer: William Leung
Photos: Rachel Wong and William Leung
Producer: Brian Wong