Maybe it’s because I live with a vegan and usually eat vegan or vegetarian meals at home, but sometimes, I get The Hunger(tm) and it’s not just a craving that anything can satisfy — it’s hunger for a mouth-watering, tantalizing, meat dish.
The Hunger drove me to Sapp Coffee Shop for lunch on a Friday afternoon when I just happened to be working from home. The Thai restaurant, famous for appearing in Anthony Bourdain’s show, is well known for their Thai Boat Noodles. My stomach growled in anticipation as soon as I walked in and scoped out the room: bright yellow lights, rickety chairs, an all Thai specials menu board, a set of condiments on each table — all signs pointing to a tasty authentic meal.
I sat down knowing right away what I wanted: Thai Boat Noodles with all sorts of random meat (#3 in the menu). Wanting to gauge the taste of the soup first, I ordered it to be medium spicy instead of full on spicy.
My bowl of Thai Boat Noodles came out after a few minutes. I took a tentative slurp of the dark, murky soup and was blown away. If pho broth is the soft caress of a feather, this broth is a kick in the face with steel toed boots. The broth was complex with hints of sweetness, spice, rich beef flavor, and a refreshing tang that had me slurping one spoonful after the other.
The broth was phenomenal, but I wish I could say the same of the noodles. The rice noodles came clumped together, as if they had been sitting around pre-cooked for a while. I had to exert some effort to untangle each bite of noodle from the main clump.
The meats in my bowl fared better than the noodles. The beef balls were crisp and flavorful, but could have been hotter. The fried skins still had a nice crunch to them and were even more delicious after soaking up some of the rich broth. The pieces of beef were a bit on the tough side, but were fragrant with soy sauce and star anise.
The Thai Boat Noodles at Sapp Coffee Shop were exactly what I was craving and satiated The Hunger beautifully, but a few hours later, I was craving the broth again. Even as I type this up now, I’m wondering if I should pop over and have another bowl. $5.50 is a hell of a deal for a bowl of tasty, rich broth with a clump of rice noodles thrown in.
Sapp Coffee Shop
5183 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA