Friday, January 14, 2022

Thai Beef Noodle Soup at Thai & Chinese Express - Irvine

This Thai beef noodle soup from Thai & Chinese Express surprised me. Not only did it contain three times more beef than a typical bowl of pho, it had five times more flavor. Though I didn’t ask, I am almost positive it’s a rendition of Guay Tiew Ruea, the dish also known as Thai boat noodle. 

If you’ve never had boat noodle, think of pho, then add soy sauce, vinegar, galangal, sugar, garlic, and chilies to the broth. And that’s an oversimplification, because boat noodles usually also involve pork blood, which is used to enrich and thicken the soup. 

This bowl, from what I can tell, did not use pork blood. But it still exhibited the punchy, balanced flavors that pervade Thai cuisine. 

No additional squirts of Sriracha were needed. 

But what surprised me most is that this food court stall has had it on the menu for years and I never noticed it before, ignoring it in favor of their pad see ew. 

I guess the dish is a fitting metaphor for the place, which is itself hidden in plain sight deep inside Irvine’s business district, known primarily by only those who worked within a mile of it. 

Now that those workers transition to remote or hybrid schedules, the place has seemingly been forgotten. And that’s too bad because this soup is good and comforting and just the thing you want to be eating right now. 

And they have outdoor seating!

Thai & Chinese Express
2540 Main St. Unit J 
Irvine, CA 92614 
(949) 724-1813


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