Friday, April 26, 2013

Slurp du Jour: Khao Soi From The Restaurant Formerly Known As Thai House Express

I haven't been noodling much lately, other than noshing home noodles, while I've been busy reviving my other blog and reminding myself that there are good eats to discover from here in my own hemisphere.  Enough of depriving myself, I said to myself today, when the hands of fate* brought me to Thai House Express, er, I mean House of Thai.

For some reason, Thai House Express recently changed its name to House of Thai. There's been no change in management, or the food, or anything else, we are assured by an announcement taped to each table. Perhaps it finally dawned on them that "Thai House Express" sounds a little like dumbed-down mall food, when in fact THE (now HoT) is one of the best casual Thai sit-downers anywhere. "House of Thai" does make is sound a little more grownup, but it's as lamestream a name for a Thai restaurant as I could imagine.  Thankfully, there's the food.

I went for the khao soi, and a side order of tod mum pla (fried fish cakes) for added protein. Khao soi is the northern Thai version of the Burmese Ohn No Khao Swè (see earlier post). It's halfway between a noodle soup and a "dry" noodle dish, and features a coconut-infused curry-like broth. (For what it's worth, it's listed under the "noodles" section of the menu, not under the "noodle soups" section.)  The Thai version served at House of Thai includes tender chicken chunks with flat boiled wheat noodles in the broth/curry, topped with crispy fried noodles. Onions, shallots, chiles, and cilantro also have a prominent presence, as can be seen in the photo above, and pickled cabbage seemed to be lurking in the yellow broth as well. The broth is coconut-y enough to be comforting, but sneaky-spicy enough to let you know you're not being coddled, and the crunchy deep-fried egg noodles atop the melange contributes to a nice mix of textures.  Like anything else I try at Thai House Express, I mean House of Thai, it's worth returning for,

Where slurped: House of Thai (formerly Thai House Express), 901 Larkin St., San Francisco

*I'm working on photo-documentation of the former locations of branches of the Foster's Cafeteria chain, and have discovered that one location (which I wasn't familiar with at the time) was at 901 Larkin St., which happens to be the location of House of Thai today.

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