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Last month I was back in Fresno for a couple nights to visit a friend. I always look forward to the Southeast Asian chow to be discovered there. We had lunch at Mama's Asian Noodle House.
Kao Piak, $8.95: Fun to introduce Chris to a Lao dish that does not harbor hidden capsicum heat. The kao piek was lovely here with big fat, chewy, homemade tapioca/rice noodles in a silky, pure chicken broth topped with fried garlic, cilantro, scallions and shredded chicken breast. I did ask if the dish normally includes cubes of pork blood, which would be traditional, but no, this restaurant does not put that in. Safe for vanilla faces!
Mien-style Kao Soy, $9.50: I've only had mien-style kao soy at a place in Fremont (and a mien-style kao soy TACO in Redding), so when I read it was available here, I put this spot on my list of Fresno chow targets. Delectable broth heavy with tomatoes and a layer of chili oil floating on the top, well seasoned ground pork crumbles and very fresh garnishes especially that sprig of fragrant mint. The rice noodles though were broken up and stuck together.
Crispy Pork Belly, $9.75: I've converted Chris to the wonders of pork belly. Fried to an airy crunch here and served with a tomato salsa-like, loose jaew mak len and spicy soy sauce dip, this was lovely too. We were both disappointed that the cut was so lean with only one thinnish layer of fat, but at least the meat was not dried out. We checked with the server and she said we can request more fat when we order again.
The place is in a nondescript strip mall. The signage has "Thai and Lao" in big letters on the streetside but the actual name, Mama's Asian Noodles is too small to read driving by. Inside is bright and contemporary. Counter service, credit cards accepted via Square.
Mama's Asian Noodle House
4787 E. McKinley Ave
Fresno, California 93703
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