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Namu Gaji: A Tasty Remedy For Holiday Excess 

Wednesday, Jan 7 2015
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If you're feeling the pinch of a too-tight belt after all the holiday merrymaking, Namu Gaji has a dish that's healthy and seriously delicious. Simply identified as "Napa" on the dinner menu (under "Cold" items), this is a huge, colorful salad that can generously feed two or be shared as part of a family-style meal with a whole table. Napa cabbage is one of the stars of the dish, tender leaves and thinly-sliced stalk; there are also shirataki noodles, a favorite of the healthy set for being low in carbs and calories (they're yam-based), while also having a fun and slippery mouthfeel.

Cucumber slices add another level of cooling refreshment, and shreds of nori impart a faint taste of the sea. All of these ingredients come together under a slightly tart ponzu dressing, while sparkling pomegranate seeds provide a sweet crunch and visual appeal. Stir it all together to distribute the noodles underneath and scoop it up with your chopsticks: It's a symphony of flavors and textures, light yet satisfying.

Lucky customers may be the recipients of napa cabbage from Namu's own farm in Sunol, and while the menu of this neighborhood restaurant may change in the new year, one can only hope this dish will stick around. A big bowl of Napa combined with a sizzling stone pot (koshihikari rice, vegetables, egg, and killer house-made kimchee) is more than enough for two hungry people; Namu Gaji doesn't skimp on portion size. The cooks also know that food can taste really good and be good for you. Just try to stay virtuous after paying your check because, well, Bi-Rite Creamery is around the corner.

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Julie Kramer

Julie Kramer

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