Los Angeles is a city with over 4 million people, and it's a surprise that this massive tally still lends itself to many it's-a-small-world occurrences. Cut back 10+ years to high school. I was much different then, as most people are. I actually did really well in school, I was a soccer jock and I spent a good part of my days practicing how to do windmills, flares and headspins only to have my parents scream at me about studying for SAT's. Like most high school groups, you had your own territory somewhere on campus. For that 10 mins between every class, my friends and I would report back to basecamp, which was a tree that probably heard way more than it should have. Not surprisingly, being in San Gabriel Valley, my group was entirely Asian except for this token white guy named Willie Wood, which we later knighted as Willie Woo. Behind us was a nice mix of girls that were really into SKA & punk music that we would say hi too. One of the girls, was this really quiet and sweet half Thai/half Caucasian girl that wore short hair, dressed in black and carried a lunchbox tattered with band stickers.
And then forward 10+ years later at a dinner put together by TonyC of Sinosoul, I find myself sitting at the table staring at this girl. I told J, I think that girl went to my high school. She told me to find out if it was her.
I waved her over to sit with us, and it was truly a weird experience because we were never close. But it's always cool to see where people are a few years down the line.
Me: "Dude you like food?!"
Anjali: "Yeah! I write Delicious Coma."
J fell in love with her and they hung out a few times. A few nights ago, we met up w/ her and her man to check out the new Umami Burger on Hollywood/Vermont, which was very good. I love that they have a good supply of Hitachino beers, a fine brew from Japan with a dope logo of an owl. Anyway, Anjali mentioned this Thai noodle place that she had just checked out and one that I've seen on the way back home in Silver Lake.
My noodle alarm woke me up at 7:30 am, thirsty and hungry. The noodle alarm clock usually happens when I've had a little too much to imbibe. The body needs liquids and solid food. And I immediately thought about Wat Dong Moon Lek (WDML).
Jeni, my friend Tyson and I showed up on a Saturday morning to this quaint place tucked inside of a strip mall. Its turquoise/teal walls and colorful chalkboard really gave a nice vibe that attracted young people. On the chalkboard, the menu was drawn with different colors along with photos. I love places with chalkboard menus. If we have money for it someday, we'd have some installed in the kitchen/dining area to write up menus for dinner parties.
Being a noodle shop, we went for the soup noodles. This place, like Ord and Thaitown Noodles in Hollywood, offers miniature and regular-sized portions for a few of the dishes. We decided to do halfers so we could try more food.
Wat Dong Moon Lek Beef Noodle Soup
This was first on their noodle category so I assumed it was their signature dish. The broth was very light and delicate and I almost wished it had some beef blood in it to really thicken that broth.
Wat Dong Moon Lek Pork Noodle Soup
This was the pork sibling of the previous dish. Again, same broth with different meat. I was hoping for some pork offals.
Tom Yum Pork Noodle Soup
I have seen tom yum style soup noodles, but never anything orange colored like this. It almost looked like a prude, Catholic school girl version of Vietnam's punch-in-the-face pork lemongrass soup noodles known as bun bo hue. The usage of udon in Thai cuisine was new to me and probably just a homemade creation. I would order this again and a lot of chili sauce.
Hainan Chicken Rice
This is a dish the Hainan Chinese brought all over Southeast Asia. You can find this pretty easily in a Thai restaurant. The chicken was pretty moist but the hoisin & peanut butter sauce was different than the sweet, ginger-garlic sauce that is traditionally served.
Ham Hock Rice
I think I favored this dish the most out of everything. It's also a take on a popular Chinese dish that includes five-spiced braised pork, pickled mustard greens, a five-spice boiled egg and a tasty sauce.
The food was on the lighter side here as I'm pretty used to straight-forward, bold flavors from Thai food. But I think we've completely missed the point here. I forgot that Anjali had recommended the Rambutan salad, which consists of a lychee-like fruit, shrimp and coconut milk and some type of spicy mussel dish that a lot of patrons had ordered. I'll be back here again to try those dishes out. The service is great, the people are cool and it's a nice break from the limited parking in Thai Town.
I highly recommend trying the soup noodles over at Ord and Thai Town Noodles as well. Thanks for reading and to Anjali, Jeni and I had a great time with you and R. Ready for part two.