Maybe I’m overdue for a trip to a hawker stall in Thailand or Singapore. Or I’m just watching too many episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’ – my equivalent of food porn. I can’t help but have food envy seeing him hit up a street vendor and get turned on as he hungrily anticipates his humble bowl of noodles. My memories of Southeast Asia usually summon up cravings of dry soup noodles – basically noodles with all the fixings but with the broth on the side. It’s a different experience from the traditional soup noodles. The ingredients are not bound together by a mellow broth, but suffused with usually some kind of pork or chicken fat – a special sauce that like the Dark Knight, is both evil and good.
Fortunately in LA, there are some options. Here are just a few where I get my dry noodle fix. Would love to hear from those of you who have had happy experiences with your noodles.
Kim Ky Noodle House: This place is located across the street from my bargain basement mechanics at Silver Seas who go here for lunch everyday. I’ll start with stating the redundant – this place like all good noodle shops is a bit hole in the wall-ish and has long lines at lunch (which seems to be when it’s only open). Most of the locals were eating the Chiu Chow Noodles (dry) accompanied by a side of fried cruller (aka you tiao in Mandarin, the Chinese churro, etc.). It’s a solid bowl of egg noodles topped with a potpourri of meat – bbq pork, ground chicken, onion, scallions and fried shallots that when tossed with a bit of fish sauce is umami heaven.
Sanamuluang: I think most Los Angelenos who have suffered a late night pub crawl will end up in the early am at Sanamuluang – a Thai joint that has the outdoor seating and blaring neon to conjure nights in Bangkok. They know how to serve up the perfect preventative medicine for your morning hangover with a comprehensive menu that is sort of a greatest hits album of Thai/Chinese street food. Their General Noodles is essentially their version of the Chiu Chow Noodle and stands up quite well though could use more pork fat for fuller flavor and better consistency.
Yai: Yai is my go to Thai place in LA with two locations – one in Hollywood and one in Los Feliz. They make a fried pork with Chinese broccoli dish which is I think the best thing there. But if I’m craving noodles, their dry noodle dish with crab is very good. Egg noodles with bits of crab bound together in nuptial bliss with some kind of fat laced fish sauce.