I’m a huge fan of Thai food. Ever since my high school days of frequenting Spice of Thai in Royal Oak and Sy Thai in Birmingham, I get wicked cravings for Thai. However, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never really ventured beyond pad thai, pad see ew, and coconut curries. I know, I know. This is almost like saying, I love Chinese food but I’ve only had fried rice. But in my defense, there haven’t been a whole lot of authentic Thai restaurants where I’ve lived, and I’ve never had anyone really introduce me to the “advanced” stuff. So, when I heard that Thai Town in Hollywood was the place for authentic Thai food I was super excited to check it out.
After a bit of research, I decided to try Sapp Coffee Shop for my first Thai Town restaurant because (1) Anthony Bourdain told me to go; (2) Jonathan Gold told me to go (one of his 99); and (3) the Boat Noodle Soup is a dish I’m supposed to eat before I die.
The Boat Noodle Soup with Beef can be ordered “special” with lots of delicious goodies or not-special with just beef. I always pride myself on trying anything at least once and I genuinely like offal, animal parts that have probably been featured on Fear Factor or Andrew Zimmern, but is now so in style with the whole head-to-tail movement. So naturally, I ordered mine special.
And, special it was.
The soup itself was truly delicious. The broth is thickened and flavored with blood and was undeniably rich with a great heat. The lime and cilantro did a nice job cutting through that richness. In addition to the beef, the special came with meatball, tendon, tripe, liver, and fried pork skin — all parts I enjoy normally and don’t hesitate to eat.
But, I learned something about myself that afternoon at Sapp. I’m really not as adventurous of an eater as I think I am. I realized while I will try anything once, I’ll only do it if it’s cut up in little pieces so it’s beyond recognition.
While I happily ate the meatballs, pork skin, and liver, I could not eat some of that tripe. The little white pieces I’m used to were fine. But there were some pieces that looked exactly like a part you definitely don’t want to be putting in your mouth. I’m not even sure it was tripe because I always thought tripe was stomach and these parts were…lower. I’m usually not even squirmy about intestines, but these parts were…even lower.
Don’t worry, I didn’t take any pictures of that bit.
R played it safer and got the Jade noodles with BBQ pork, duck, and crab meat. Served with peanuts, sugar, and fresh lime juice, it was light and refreshing and full of bright flavors. And, bit-free.
Overall, I enjoyed my first experience at “advanced” Thai. The only reason I wouldn’t go back anytime soon is because there are so many other restaurants to try in Thai Town. Sapp’s boat noodle soup is really delicious and I would order it again.
But, make mine unspecial, please.