Ras Noodle

On the morning of JP’s birthday, we drove out to visit the Wat Thai Temple—a peaceful, welcoming Thai Buddhist temple in the Valley. We spent the morning there. Meditating. Reflecting. Journaling. Receiving a blessing from the monks at noon. Chatting it up with a friendly Thai Grandma. It was beautiful.Wat Thai Temple
DSC01524   DSC01533
By the time we were done, it was lunch time! Normally, we’d eat at the temple when we come on the weekends. (Eating here on the weekend is reminiscent of eating street food in Thailand! We’ll have to share more about the experience in another entry.) However, we were there on a Wednesday, so no food vendors.

We then remembered Ras Noodle—a good Thai place that we’ve been to once about a mile away.

Location

Ras Noodle
8205 Woodman Ave #104, Panorama City, CA 91402
Directions

It took us less than 5 minutes to drive over from Wat Thai Temple and find parking inside the little plaza.

We walked in, and Ras Noodle was as we’d remember…a small, Thai restaurant with no frills service and decor. We sat ourselves down at a table. We didn’t get menus right away, but the main decorations were photos of food from the menu. So we took a look at those until a waitress finally came by with two menus, which were nicely printed with a lot of professional photos. Same as the ones on the walls.

The Dishes

There were many dishes that looked delicious, and are cheap. We decided to go with the Boat Noodles and Catfish Curry this time.

Boat Noodles – $6.50 (large)

When you ordered boat noodles at Ras Noodle, you first select the type of noodles you want. There are four choices: egg noodles, flat noodles, pho rice noodles, and thin rice noodles. We chose thin rice noodles.

Our bowl of boat noodles came out smelling so savory and sweet. The broth was dark brown (almost a little muddy) because it had some cow and/or pigs blood, which is traditionally the base of this soup. It may sound weird, but the taste of this soup with the noodles, meat, and herbs is delicious!  At first bite, all I can say is “Yum!” The taste is so good; primarily salty and spicy with a little sweet- and sour-ness.

Ingredients: liver, pork balls, tripe, pork, been sprouts, cilantro, green onions, chili powder

Boat Noodles

The name of this soup comes from its origins of being served from boats in the canals of Bangkok, Thailand. Boat noodles are traditionally served in a small bowl, but there are usually small and large sizes of this soup available at most Thai restaurants in LA.

Boat Noodles close-up

 Catfish Curry – $9.00

This dish is cooked in a “dry” curry style with no coconut milk (similar to Pad Prik King). It has slices of catfish, bone-in, mixed in this rich and oily curry, with various herbs. Super flavorful. This catfish curry tastes spicy, sweet, and salty all at once! It’s available with or without rice. We recommend eating it with rice, so you can give your palette a break from the intense flavors every few bites.

Ingredients: green peppercorns, chilies, basil, galangal, a few red and green peppers, curry paste, palm sugar, fish sauce

Catfish Curry

Catfish Curry closeup

Tips

  • Bring cash with you. It’s a cash-only place, but there’s an ATM near the register.
  • There are free parking spots in the plaza lot, albeit limited. Otherwise, you’ll have to look for street parking.
  • Opened daily from 9:30am -9:00pm.

Kim Thai Food

For our first stop, we drove out to the Valley in search of a place called Kim Thai Food. We hadn’t been before, but we heard from a few friends that it had some great dishes, especially a delicious papaya salad. We decided to give it a try!

 

Location, Location, Location

Address: 12727 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

It took us a few tries before finding Kim Thai Food because of its hidden location. We knew that it was in a shopping plaza off Sherman Way, but there were so many shopping plazas in that area! We even used Waze to navigate there but ended up walking around the wrong plaza. After driving into the second plaza, we decideLa Fiesta Swap Meetd to walk into “La Fiesta Swap Meet.”

We had no idea what was inside, but it showed promise because of a small sign that said “Food Court: Comida Internaccional.” Luckily, both of us understand a bit of Spanish. No outside signage for Kim Thai Food but our instincts told us it was in there.

We walked in and saw aisles  full of small toy and clothing shops, left and right. No indication of food though; at least not until we walked all the way to the back…

shopsAnd then…BINGO! There it was. Kim Thai Food—a small, unpretentious, hole-in-the-wall with a neon sign and delicious looking Thai food. We were so happy to find it.

Kim Thai Food

Kim Thai Food

The Dishes

We ordered three dishes: grilled pork, duck larb, and papaya salad.

Grilled Pork – $10

All the dishes were delicious, but this one stood out. We’d definitely come back and order this again. The meat was well cooked and still tender.

grilled pork 1

The sauce that came with the grilled pork was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Imagine concentrating all the Thai flavors into one small bowl and that’s what it tasted like. Raw garlic, chilies, lime juice, fish sauce and who knows what else. While our tastebuds were in heaven, anyone within breathing distance from us for the rest of the day was not.

grill pork sauce
Duck Larb – $15

We had seen this dish on their Yelp page and decided to try it despite it’s unusually high price tag. From what we could tell, the Duck Larb consisted of ground duck meat, liver, kidney, crispy chicharones (fried pork skin), dried chilies and fresh herbs. Mint, lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic and cilantro all gave it a really fresh and flavorful taste.

duck larb
Papaya Salad – $6

This was the dish we came specifically for. We heard from a friend that it might be the best papaya salad in L.A. There were a few minor things we would have done differently (like using cherry tomatoes and dried shrimp) but all in all, it was a very authentic and flavorful papaya salad with just the right amount of fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar dressing. Peanuts, chilies, long beans and cabbage completed the dish.

Proportion was good for two people, but it can easily feed three, especially if you’re all sharing another dish or two.

We’re not sure if it beats the papaya salad at Ruen Pair but it’s definitely in our top three.

papaya salad

Environment

The Environment was definitely interesting. One of the views, while we were eating, was of a woman getting her eyebrows professionally threaded.

Another view was of Kim Thai Food staff making papaya salad and handling orders behind the counter.

Kim Thai Food Environment

 

We really enjoyed Kim Thai Food not only for it’s authentic Thai food, but also for the experience of hunting it down. Eating amazing Thai food in a mall full of random shops is definitely an authentic Thai experience, which made it even more nostalgic for us.

Tips

  • Bring cash with you. It’s a cash-only place.
  • Parking is free and easily available in the shopping plaza lot.
  • It’s closed on Tuesdays.
  • Check out other dishes to order: Kim Thai Food on Yelp.
Photography by JP Candelier.