Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sapp vs. Ord: Thai Boat Noodle Showdown

The best Thai Boat Noodles in town? After going through two rounds of competition, Sapp Coffee Shop in Hollywood reigns supreme over Ord Noodles just three blocks over. Here's the breakdown of the restaurants and some other items on their menu.

Sapp Coffee Shop
Sapp Coffee Shop isn't really a coffee shop. It's a hole in the wall Thai restaurant that may not look appealing from the outside, but don't judge a restaurant by its cover. Don't judge it by the inside either--it's minimally decorated with custard-colored walls. Located in Hollywood's Thai Town, this little hole is the place to go for some great Thai food.

Unlike the Thai teas served in the San Gabriel Valley, Sapp's version is dominated by a stronger tea rather than milk flavor. It was refreshing to actually taste the tea part of Thai tea.

Within minutes, the Thai Boat Noodles ($5.50) came out. Immediately, we noticed the dark and rich looking broth, and gave it a sip. Four different flavors came of the few sips. The warm soup starts out salty and then sweet and ends with a sour and spicy aftertaste. The noodle soup was as murky and complex as it looked. The intense flavors were balanced by the strong and chewy white noodles and the tender slices of beef, tendons, and liver.

The green Jade Noodles ($6.25) was served without a broth, but with a sweet ginger sauce that we use to mix the bowl's ingredients, which included bbq pork, crab meat, and chili flakes. Like the boat noodles, this dish was sour, but not as overwhelming. The noodles were of the same quality, though he broth's absence really allowed us to appreciate the noodles' taste, strength, and chewiness.

The Seasoned Duck Noodle Soup ($5.50) has a lighter broth than the Thai Boat Noodles. Again, very flavorful, but we wished there were more duck slices and that the slices were thicker.

Ord Noodles
After finishing Sapp, we headed over to Ord Noodles and waited ten minutes for a table. Immediately, we noticed the differences between Ord and Sapp. While Sapp's wall are barely decorated, Ord's is filled with cheesy female model posters. Wesley thought it looked like a yogurt shop.
The Boat Noodles at Ord ($3.50 for a small bowl) looked very similar to Sapps, but the flavors were completely different. The murky broth was less complex, more salty and sweet than sour.If you let the broth sit, the oil begins to separate. The soggy white noodles were limped and melted in our mouths. The meat was overcooked probably because it's been sitting under a fire all day. Ord didn't taste like it offered the freshest ingredients, so when it comes to the boat noodle battle, Sapp triumphs.

The Hoy Kha included fat noodles with ground pork, BBQ pork, pork ball, and dried shrimp in a clear broth. The soup was a slightly sour and sweet--a nice balance. A good, slightly spicy dish.

As announced earlier, we concluded that Sapp's Thai Boat Noodles trumps Ord's. Ord's had soggy noodles and overcooked meat. We say, go for Sapp's strong noodles, tasty broth, and perfectly cooked, tender meat.

Fellow food bloggers at the first event:
Delicious Coma
Naked Sushi
Shop Eat Sleep
Starchy Marie

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  1. Great photos and descriptions -- oh man, it's been a LONG time since I had Thai Boat Noodle, gotta rectify that pronto!

  2. Agree that Sapp's TBN are superior to Ord's. The flavor is unbeatable. Nice photos.

  3. At Pa Ord, the thing to get are the Tom Yum noodles. Fantastic. Sapp has something similar, I think called Sukothai noodle. Agreed that Boat noodle best at Sapp, but Pa Ord is equally great at their specialty, so just go to both and order "#1"