NRN Noodle (or where to get your snail noodle fix)
I just went there on Friday with my family. The snails aren't like escargot type snails, but actually water snail.
For appetizers, we ordered the snails (in shell) and a plate of the pork stomach. The pork stomach had a chewy and satisfying texture and good flavor. The snails in shell were SPICY. It came in a bowl and the bowl had 1-2 inches of hot chili oil floating on top of it. The snail itself was pretty small despite the large shell. I thought the chili oil was a bit too overpowering and couldn't really taste any other flavor.
I ordered the snail noodles with pork feet. None of their soup noodles come with any snail meat, but they make their broth from the snail, which you can sort of taste. On the menu (all Chinese at the moment) there are two sections of soup noodles. The first section (top left) is made out of the snail broth and VERY spicy. Don't listen to the waitress when she says it's only a little spicy. Half of the people in the restaurant were coughing because of the spiciness. The second section also has soup noodles, but not spicy.
I thought the broth was a little too salty, but it counteracted the spiciness pretty well. The noodles were my favorite part. They're thick round rice noodles (about twice the thickness of Vietnamese bun noodles) and they were just the right amount of chewiness. There are also various toppings on the bowl like like peanuts and pieces of bamboo, which was a nice touch. The pork feet was pretty tender, but lacked flavor.
My parents ordered some other types of broth noodles from the top left section of the menu. They're bowls were basically the same broth and noodles, but with different types of meat (chicken, beef, etc.)
Overall, the food wasn't to die for or anything, but definitely worth the visit for anyone who's curious. I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Their prices seemed a bit high compared to a bowl of pho around SGV, but the portions are huge. The bowls are about $6-$8. For two people with moderate appetites, I think an appetizer and sharing a bowl of noodles would probably be enough.
Does the menu have pictures at least? I can read a little bit of Chinese and I wonder if I'll have a hard time trying to order. This looks like a place that I would definitely like to try because I love snails and I frequently order the Vietnamese Bun Rieu noodles iwth the snails.
Thanks for the report.
I dropped by this evening and ordered a bowl and found the soup to be nice and spicy, but didn't really care for all the other stuff in the broth, e.g. spicy bamboos, tofu skins, mushrooms, etc. You're right about the noodles, they were very good and chewy (not mushy at all). The duck feet were also a nice surprise (eating some as I type this).
Oh, and a good way to mitigate the spiciness of the broth? Sour plum juice on the rocks!