Yai is my favourite restaurant in Thai Town, so I was excited to notice its younger sister Yai Noodle open at 5401 Hollywood Blvd. It's awfully hip inside but a friend tells me that this is a relic of the previous establishment, which priced itself out of the 'hood to the benefit of Thai noodle fans. Much of the Yai menu is available by popular demand at Yai Noodle, but we restricted outselves to noodle house classics unique to the smaller branch:
Boat Noodle: Many of the soup noodles are based on the same dark broth rich with beef and anise. The Boat Noodle is a compendium dish with thinnish rice noodles, brisket slices, liver, tripe, and meatballs. Terrific deep flavour in the broth. I suspect the other soups based on this stock with different meats are equally tasty.
Kee Maw: The pan fried fat phat rice noodles called fun in Cantonese, fried over very high heat with chilli, basil and copious amounts of garlic. This dish or the fun with black soy sauce (kecap manis) were staples of mine at King of Thai in SF, and this version was equally thrilling. Noodles are slightly charred much like Malay char kueh teow, very difficult to achieve this effect at home without restaurant-grade burners.
Chow mein: Can't remember the name of this dish on the menu, it is the pure Cantonese chow mein where the noodles are pan fried until crispy, then the sauce is poured on top with meat of choice and veg. Note that this is completely different to the gloppy Americanized chow mein from your local "donuts and Chinese food" shop. Execution at Yai Noodle is flawless, the noodles acquire a softer texture where they soak up the sauce and the flavour is typically Cantonese, subtle and delicious.
Yai Noodle is yet another fine destination in Thai Town, equal in quality to Sanamluang for the dishes I tried and serving a different spectrum of stuff from regular Yai.
Low End Theory