NOTE TO BLOG VISITORS - I am not currently doing noodle restaurant visit reports, but focusing on diving more deeply into noodle research, so this blog will be updated less frequently. For the latest Asian noodle news, and features from external sources, follow
Truck Stop: Garlic Noodles With Lemongrass Pork From Little Green Cyclo
I'm a big fan of Off the Grid, especially the Fort Mason venue, with its Asian and Latin foods focus. In fact I am, ahem, the Mayor of Off the Grid, Fort Mason Center on FourSquare. My usual M. O. is to assemble a menu of about three appetizer-sized offerings that are new to me. Failing that I look for a meal-sized entree, and the one that drew me like a magnet last night was a serving of garlic noodles from Quynh Nguyen at the excellent Little Green Cyclo food truck.
Little Green Cyclo at an earlier event
The brisk, windy Friday night environment of Fort Mason Center may be ideal for noodles in soup, but it presents a special challenge for "dry" noodle dishes By the time you carry them to a seating area and (for obsessives like me) get them ready for their photo shoot, they are not as hot from the kitchen as they were meant to be served. Nonetheless, the copious serving of meat-topped noodles were worth the 10-minute wait at the truck (not counting the line, which was mercifully short at the time I ordered). LGC's garlic noodles are akin to a chow mein dish (the stir-fried kind you might find on the streets of Shanghai), using medium egg noodles (probably the ones known as mi xao mem in Vietnamese). They were nicely chewy, just right for a dry noodle dish, and intensely flavorful. The lemongrass pork topping also presented a challenge: the plastic knife provided to cut it up with was no match for the almost jerky-like consistency of the thin, caramelized filet. I resorted to tearing it apart with my bare hands, which ironically enhanced the primal pleasure of eating something that has intimately known fire.
Overall, it made for a very satisfying light supper, and I undoubtedly will be trying the chicken- and shrimp-topped versions whenever the other vendors fail to come up with novelties to entice me. It did leave enough room in my gut for for me to manage a dessert of sticky rice and mango from the House of Siam on Wheels truck. I couldn't pass that up because I was wearing the "sticky rice" T-shirt I got from a Lao vendor at the recent Asian Heritage street festival. I would have preferred a dollop of fiery papaya salad to the sweet mango, though the mango did provide a refreshing counterpoint to the tartness of the lemongrass chicken from the Little Green Cyclo truck.