Decent Thai @ Wat Dong Moon Lek

After reading a post from Delicious Coma about the newly opened Wat Dong Moon Lek in my neighborhood, I had an incredible craving for some Thai noodle soup. The restaurant is closer to my house than my usual haunts in Thai town, so it was the perfect place to go for a workday lunch.

Wat Dong Moon Lek

The rambutan and shrimp salad was a refreshing dish that’s new to me. The tropical sweetness of the rambutan fruit echoed the fresh sweetness of the shrimp. Each shrimp was cooked perfectly, still tender and delicate inside. The thinly sliced onions also added a nice pungent kick to the salad.

As my main, I ordered their namesake noodles with beef. Like other Thai noodle places, the bowls come in two sizes: small and regular. The small size was perfect after polishing off the shrimp salad by myself. The broth was clearer than that of Thai boat noodles, but stronger in flavor than the delicate beefiness of pho broth. Its flavor reminded me a bit of beef bouillon, so maybe they put some of that in there as well as the usual Thai seasonings like lemongrass. I did spot some boxes of pho bouillon on some shelves in the kitchen.

Wat Dong Moon Lek

An added bonus to Wat Dong Moon Lek is that they have a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, which means the BF’s more likely to come here with me. My second time here, we ordered the dish of fried taro cakes, which were crunchy on the outside but soft and savory on the inside. These were really good, but the sweet and sour sauce it came with tasted like it came straight out of a bottle.

Wat Dong Moon Lek may not be Sapp Coffee Shop, but it serves decent Thai food in a pinch, is close to my house, and parking doesn’t seem to be an issue. Those points alone mean I’ll probably be making return visits when I get the craving for Thai but don’t want to drive to Thai town.

Wat Dong Moon Lek
[map]
4356 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 666-5993

Boat Noodles Showdown: Sapp vs. Ord

To take a break from the coverage of my Monterey Bay trip, I present to you BOAT NOODLES SHOWDOWN: SAPP vs. ORD in Thai town.  Thanks again to Tony C for setting this up and getting everyone together.

Our first stop was to Sapp Coffee Shop which I’ve written about before. Their broth is thick, rich, has just the right amount of spiciness (if you ask for a medium), and is a good-sized portion for a meal. The assorted meats you get from the #3 on the menu are all decent and tasty as well as scary if you’re easily grossed out by offal. For $5.50 a bowl, you can’t get any better than this:

Beef Boat Noodle @ Sapp

After paying our tab at Sapp, we walked the few blocks over to Ord for round two. Ord certainly is a more ‘classy’ joint compared to Sapp. The tables are not as rickety, the chairs more solid, and the restaurant is just cleaner looking — if you’re into that kind of thing. I personally think that’s a ding to their authenticity.

Beef Boat Noodle @ Ord

The broth at Ord, which I ordered as a medium was more spicy, but not as flavorful. It also had a separate, thin layer of oil at top, which usually doesn’t bother me, but didn’t really add any flavor.  The broth at ord was sweeter, thinner, and just not as rich. The beef meatballs also had a strange off-taste (yes, more ‘off’ than they usually taste) to them that I didn’t much care for. The one thing Ord has going for them is that I ordered thick flat noodles in this bowl of soup and they were fantastic. Slick, wide, and still chewy.

I also have to give Ord points for giving the option of different sizes.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat a regular sized bowl after just eaten at Sapp, so I ordered the small ($3.50) which was perfect.

Verdict: Sapp Coffee shop is the winner in my book. The broth is better there and even though Ord’s noodle was better, it’s not fair comparing the noodles of both restaurants because I got the regular thin noodles at Sapp’s. Next time I go, I need to order the thick, wide noodles, but I think my decision will remain the same.

Vegan Rice Noodles @ Sapp

As a bonus, the lady at Sapp was nice enough to make the BF a special vegan plate of fried rice noodles. That’s always a few extra points in my book.  Also, for those who are scared of boat noodles, Sapp also has a lot more other noodle and rice dishes that aren’t quite as scary such as the Jade noodles, which Jessica ordered for the table:

Jade Noodles @ Sapp

Sapp Coffee Shop
5183 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles
CA 90027
(323) 665-1035
map

Ord Noodles
5401 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027-3405
(323) 468-9302
map

Jitlada: A Thai Feast

Tony from SinoSoul got a bunch of us food and blog enthusiasts together for a Thai feast at Jitlada in Hollywood. Even though I live only 10 minutes away, it was my first time at the restaurant, so I was grateful for someone else to take the helm while I just ate whatever was put in front of me. Please excuse my Thai food newbness while I try to describe each dish. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch most of the names of the dishes.

JitladaJitlada

First came the mango salad, which was a refreshing start to a memorable meal.  The mango was crispy and still a little tart.  Next was the shrimp and fried basil, battered in some sort of sweet deliciousness.  Both of these dishes were piquant but still felt good to eat on a hot day.

JitladaThen came the crab salad, which had a mango base much like the previous mango salad, except with some crab legs.  There’s no delicate way to eat this salad, so I just dug in with my fingers when I got to the actual crab.  I wonder if Thai people subscribe to the same theory about qi as Chinese people because this dish illustrates the balance of cold qi (crab) and hot qi (mango). At the same time, the cold temperature of the salad was balanced with the heat of the chili — what an exhilarating combination.


Jitlada

JitladaJitlada

The next three dishes were less exciting, but still decent.  Initially, I was scared of the sliced beef dish, which I believe is a dry curry, because people were saying it was the spiciest thing they had last time.  It wasn’t that spicy at all. It had a little heat, but nothing to write home about. The ground beef dish had a savory saltiness that probably comes from fish sauce or shrimp paste.  I could see this dish going well on top of just plain white rice — a good comfort food.  The ong tsai/kai xing tsai aka morning glory was also good with the pungent taste of shrimp paste.

JitladaWhat feast doesn’t include a soup?  Or is that only a Chinese thing?  Either way, the ox tail soup was great, even on this hot day.  The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and the soup was hot and spicy with hints of lemon grass and other good Thai spices. It’d be fantastic in the fall because it’s so warming.

JitladaJitlada

Two of the more interesting dishes of the night came in the form of some sort of curry.  The first was a tea leaf curry, which I really liked despite me not liking Thai curry most of the time.  The tea leaves were tender like spinach, but with a slight musky taste. If I hadn’t known they were tea leaves beforehand, I wouldn’t have guessed.  The next curry was something with dried salted fish and bamboo.  Several people at the table disliked this dish because of its smell, but I love the funky stench of dried fish.  It reminded me of the dried fish Cantonese people use in porridge sometimes. It was salty and lip-smackingly delicious.

JitladaThe next dish was ordered after a bit of confusion because I believe it’s off-menu.  It’s handmade fishballs in a curry-like sauce put on top of rice noodles.  The fish balls were good as far as fish balls go, although I’m not much of a fishball connoisseur.   I think originally, they were supposed to have a salted egg yolk inside, but they didn’t have any that night.  That would have made the dish stand out more for me.

JitladaWe ended our meal with an iced Thai dessert which was basically crushed ice, grass jelly, and mangos in sugar water.  It was cooling and refreshed our spice-fatigued palates — a fitting way to end the meal.

I was sad that I didn’t get to take pictures of my most favorite dish, probably because I was too busy eating it.  It’s a dish with sataw, aka Stinky Bean, and shrimp.  The bean has the same size and appearance as a fava bean, but with a completely different taste and texture.  Its texture is more crispy and the taste is savory, slightly stinky, but delicious.  I definitely need to go back and have this dish again.

Jitlada’s menu is something that intimidates me because there’s so much on it.  I’m glad that I got to go with people who know their stuff.  That’s certainly the way to go there.  Now that I know what types of dishes are good there, I’m definitely going to drop by again.  Good food and good company is such a pleasant way to spend a Saturday night.

Jitlada
5233 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 663-3104
[map]