Bring Your Own Pork Rind @ Pa Ord

Pa Ord was my destination on one of those work from home days. It’s a somewhat new Thai noodle restaurant in Thai town, but its owner is definitely not a novice to the area, having previously run Ord a few blocks away before selling it to someone else.

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If you haven’t tried Thai sausage before and you’re a fan of meat in tube form, order a plate of these for an appetizer. They’re slightly spicy, slightly tangy, and full-on tasty. I like having a slice of this and then a slice of the included cabbage for a refreshing palate cleanser. If you’re worried about having major garlic-breath after this, chew on the included slices of ginger.

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I couldn’t come here without ordering Thai boat noodles with everything on it. Yes, give me all that organ meat goodness. Pa Ord luckily has a small and normal serving of the noodles, which meant I could order a small bowl of this and still have stomach space for something different. They also ask you what type of noodles you’d like, so if you’re a fan of the flat rice noodles, you can have those in the broth instead of the usual.

The waitress warned that I should get the mild broth instead of the medium spicy broth but I assured her that I was man enough for the medium. I have to say, the medium is quite a spicy medium. I’d consider it a ‘spicy’ at most western restaurants. The broth tasted a bit sweet, tangy, salty, and had that distinct rich flavor that boat noodle broth is known to have. The noodles were also nicely separated and not one giant clump, which meant that they didn’t sit around for too long. The various meats were all nicely tender, flavorful, and clean tasting.

I did miss the fried pork rind that usually tops the noodles. Pa Ord’s version just has fried wonton strips. Some patrons at the table next to me cleverly brought their own bag of pork rinds to crumble and put into their soup, which is something I’ll have to keep in mind for next time.

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I also ordered a small bowl of the Tom Yum noodles just to have some variety. The broth was sour and spicy, and the slices of barbecue pork were reminiscent of Chinese char-siu. While this bowl of noodles was decent and had nothing wrong with it, I have to say that my favorite is still the Thai Boat noodles. There’s just something addictive about the spicy, bloody broth.

Pa Ord manages to look clean and hip while still looking like a Thai restaurant I’d want to eat at. Most of the patrons I saw while having lunch there were Thai and they all seemed very happy about their meal — always a good sign. It’s a few blocks further than my usual go-to spot for Thai boat noodles, Sapp, but the quality of meat was much better compared to the last time I was at Sapp, so maybe this will have to be my new go-to spot.

Pa Ord
5301 Sunset Blvd. #8
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 461-3945

Dinner: Lucky Noodles

Dinner: handmade noodlesOn New Year’s Eve, I tried my hand at making noodles from scratch. I was inspired by a post from JustHungry.com about year-end soba. Noodles are lucky to eat around the new year in Asian culture because it brings good fortune.

I started with 3 cups of bread flour. I used this high gluten flour because I figured the gluten will give the noodles more chewiness. I mixed in about a teaspoon of salt, but in retrospect, I probably could have put in about a tablespoon. I put the flour and salt mixture in a bowl under our KitchenAid mixer and turned it on while I slowly poured in 1/2 cup of water. Then, as it mixed on medium, I kept adding water until most of the flour clumped up.

By then, I was mostly doing it by feel anyway, so I took the mixing bowl from under the mixer and kneaded the dough by hand, adding a tablespoon more of water and kneading until I got a pretty firm dough that was right past the crumbly stage and before the sticky stage. I then put that in a container and stuck it in the fridge for an hour to rest.

After resting, I put the dough on a floured surface, floured the top, and flattened it with a rolling pin until it was as thin as I could get it without my arms falling off. That was about 1/4 of an inch. I guess I could have gone thinner, but I didn’t want to risk the dough getting too sticky. I then floured it some more and folded it into thirds envelope-style so I could cut it into 1/4 inch strips. After cutting, I unfolded the noodles and separated them from each other

I put the noodles into a big pot of boiling water and it took longer than I thought for them to cook. As soon as they got to al dente, I took them out and ran them under cold water to wash off the extra starch.

I had another pot of soup broth going with just kombu, soy sauce, mirin, fried tofu pockets, and the whites of some Japanese green onion. I dumped the rinsed and strained noodles in and let it simmer for another minute or so just to warm the noodles back up.

Dinner: handmade noodlesDinner: handmade noodles

I then topped the noodles with a poached egg, some sliced green onion, and for me, some slices of naruto (fish cake). Not counting noodle resting time and water boiling time, this all took less than an hour to make, so it’s definitely do-able. The chewiness of the fresh noodles is completely worth it.