I have been on a bit of a jag with respect to Beef/Boat Noodle in the East Bay in the last couple of months. Boat Noodle I believe is flavored/thickened with blood, lending a distinct flavor and a characteristic cloudy look, while many places only serve a beef stew version. Current Favorites:
Ruen Pair, Albany: Appears to be Boat Style, ordered medium is quite spicy, good tanginess from lime juice or vinegar I am not sure. Meats include sliced beef, stewed beef, beef ball and sometimes tripe. Thin rice noodle or flat noodle. Some green vegetable.$7-$8.
Sa Wooei, El Cerrito: Beef Stew style, meat include beef ball, sliced beef, stewed beef including tendony bits. Noticeably sweet broth. Thin rice noodle. Chinese broccoli..$5.25 at lunch!!! Excellent value. Spice comes from condiments.
Thai Noodle, Berkeley- Near Triple Rock: Also Boat style, I think. Stewed beef in the form of largish pot roast like slices, beef ball, and sliced beef. Spinach. Thin noodles available. Spice comes from condimenets.
Zapp-Zapp, Albany: I think I read somewhere that this is affiliated with Sa Wooei and the recipe reflects that. Also I recognize one of the servers from both places. The meat is as above but there is a distinct inclusion of separate stewed tendon, and the beef ball includes both the smooth kind and the tendon inclusive lumpy kind. Also Chinese Broccoli. About $7.5
Tuk-Tuk Thai, Shattuck, Berkeley: A clearer broth version that may be Boat style. Odd sweetness that might be from heavy use of herbs like cilantro. Thin noodles, beef ball, sliced beef. ~$6. Fine.
@Siam Cuisine: lunch special version a beef stew, decent flavor but did not seem as Thai as others, i.e. less fish sauce/mild sweetness. Ok, ~$6.
King of Thai Noodle in Tuk Tuk market, Berkeley. Probably a decent Boat style, but can't clearly remember. Also not as pleasant to eat at.
Any other recommendations?
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