Noodle Canteen, Kalyani Nagar (Pune)
When travel is such a big part of life, you start recognizing markers that make a place feel like home. Food is an undeniable marker that makes lasting impressions. When it was time for my friends and I to graduate from the city that had been home for four years, the first thing we did was make a list of everything we wanted to do in Pune before we left (pretty sure most, if not everything on that list was about food!) My last memory from that time is sitting with my best friend on the floor of our empty college apartment, and eating our last Noodle Canteen meal together before I stuffed four years of my life into a car and drove away.
Why Noodle Canteen?
Tucked away into an unassuming part of the main street in Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Noodle Canteen is a small restaurant that serves a myriad of dishes from different Asian cuisines. The ambience oscillates between a “canteen” with their outdoor seating, and a cozy restaurant with their upstairs indoor seating space. Brightly colored origami artwork adorns the orange walls, emitting a vitality that fills the room with joy. It is a perfect little getaway for everyone — whether you’re a college student escaping the hostel mess (as we usually were) or just out looking for some warm comfort food.
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I was first introduced to the restaurant by my college seniors (at Symbiosis Pune) who vowed that they were taking us out for the best Asian food around — they weren’t lying. Since that day, it became a staple for my friends and me— stress eating dumplings during exams, ordering Nasi Goreng to celebrate the end of a hectic academic season, going out for roommate dates with their Iced Tea and Khao Suey, and nursing heartbreaks with Chocolate Wontons. The delectable dishes masterfully balanced bold flavors brought about by blending sesame, soy, ginger, chilies and other basics of the pan-Asian pantry, with their fiery sauces and creamy curries leaving you wanting for more.
Whatever the occasion was, Noodle Canteen was always around. One of my favorite moments at the restaurant is when the owner stopped by our table when my friends and I were visiting the restaurant for dinner one night. We chatted about everything from the food to our lives, and her passion for this place was so evident in our conversation. Other than the fact that we got chocolate wontons (our absolute favorite dessert) on the house, the warmth of the place and the owner was undeniable. As we soon became restaurant regulars, we built camaraderie with the employees who always greeted us with welcoming smiles and lightened the mood with funny quips on difficult days. A wall by the entrance covered with vibrant post-its captured the memories and artistic talent of the customers – and we made it a tradition to leave behind a note after every meal that left our bellies full and hearts happy. Halfway across the world, as I try to replicate Noodle Canteen’s dishes in my kitchen even today, the whiff of sweet basil and crushed peanuts takes me back to the place that remained a calming escape through my college life.
Personal Favorites you MUST Try! (Food to try at Noodle Canteen)
- Tom Kha Soup (it will cure you of ANY bad day, trust me)
- Pot Roast Mushroom Soup
- Activated Charcoal Dumplings
- Hanoi Rolls
- Sexy Singapore Noodles (it will teleport you into the Hawker Centre of Singapore)
- Phad Thai
- Nasi Goreng (bonus tip: add egg!)
- Khao Suey
- Chocolate Wantons (do NOT miss this!)
- In House Iced Tea (A Noodle Canteen signature that will absolutely turn into a craving)
Where is Noodle Canteen?
Noodle Canteen Location – 102, Victoria II, Fortaleza, Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411006, located near Symbiosis Pune
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