Fast-forward four years to pick up where I last left off. After I left Sweden, HH and I continued to text message each other while I was in Europe. We chat online fairly regularly too. Or well, I should say we chat when I'm online, but I rarely log on these days. When he hadn't seen me online for a while so that he could tell me he was coming into town, he text messaged me instead. I didn't get the message. Text messaging overseas? Not always reliable. Just sayin.'
Anyway, so in May when HH was passing through town, he had one night free to meet up for dinner before he had to fly to the east coast. He was jet-lagged and coming down with a cold when he showed up at my door. He'd been staying with a friend and couldn't go to sleep at his friend's place so he took a nap on my sofa. Well, it wasn't three naps like during our trip to Helsinki, Finland, but I think I can safely say I literally bore him to sleep! :P
By the time he woke up, it was late and all he wanted to eat was salad. Hmm. Hong Kong cafes are usually my late night option and I can safely say I've never ordered just a salad at any of them. Then I remembered Noodle World was open late and a Thai papaya salad sounded just the thing right then.
I rarely dine at Noodle World since they moved to the old Noodle Planet location, which obviously used to be a Bob's Big Boy. Something about the acoustics and the ambiance of the current location makes me feel like I'm eating in a cafeteria. Plus, lil' sis doesn't care for the food, so we're always eating elsewhere.
The owner is Thai and I pretty much stick to the Thai items on the menu. Actually, I only like two dishes here -- the Thai papaya salad and the Thai beef salad.
We ordered a shrimp and tofu pad Thai with both freshly deep-fried tofu and pressed tofu. The normal price is $7.25, I think it was an extra dollar or two for the fresh tofu. Totally worth it because the freshly deep-fried tofu was crispy on the outside, yet soaked up all the pad Thai flavors. The noodles that night weren't at their best. Too mushy and clumpy.
Papaya salad with shredded green papaya, green beans, tomatoes, peanuts, and dried shrimp for $7.25. The salad dressing of lime juice and fish sauce was just right. Is it also silly that I liked that they serve the salads with a generous wedge of raw cabbage? I usually let the cabbage absorb some of the dressing and eat it all. Makes me feel healthy when I eat raw cabbage.
On a previous visit, I ordered the papaya salad with salty crab for $7.50. It's raw marinated crab, like the kind served at Korean barbecues. I like it but the flavor may be an acquired taste.
Crispy beef chow mein for $6.95. Lots and lots of crispy chow mein if that's what you like, but taste-wise a little bland.
And then more recently, my childhood friend had a craving for shaved ice so we stopped in to get an order to go. The shaved ice counter shares the same space but is called Frozen Monster. Order and pay for it separately. It's $4.95 for three items.
I told her Kang Kang Food Court has a more generous portion of shaved ice with three items for $3.25. But she wanted the smaller adzuki red beans, and I wasn't sure which type of red bean Kang Kang had. The shaved ice here was so disappointing that we went to Kang Kang afterward anyway just to check it out for next time. And found out that they have both kidney and adzuki red beans. Ha!
Anyway, so I really only go to Noodle World for both of the papaya salads and the Thai beef salad. The pan-fried noodles, fried rices, and curry and spicy spaghettis aren't half-bad. But if you're a purist, stay away from the Vietnamese pho and Japanese ramen, it'll just upset you.
Other Thai restaurants:
Bhan Kanom Thai - Los Angeles (Thai Town)
Palms Thai Restaurant - Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Thai Purple - Alhambra
Top Thai Restaurant - San Dimas
700 W. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
1 year ago today, hibiscus leaf and pomegranate mixed greens salad.