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Chai Thai Noodles (Oakland) Thai House Express chef alert

I was on my way to Pho King when the grand opening banner across the street caught my eye. This new Thai place just opened on Monday 6/30/08. There's about 10 four tops nicely spaced in the simply decorated room. They also have a flat screen TV on the wall.

When I received the menu, I recognized the familiar layout and font, and finally realized, it's the Thai House Express menu. Apparently, the chef from 'THE' on Geary & Larkin in SF had a falling out, so he's the head chef here now. He also brought his sous chef with him.

Anyway, I ended up ordering 2 things I've never tried at Thai House Express. Yum Pla Dook Foo (catfish salad) & Larb w/pork. The former was more of an airy batter with catfish bits mixed in, served over a bed of shredded lettuce and topped with cashews and red bell pepper. This was served with a delicious sauce, which was a mixture of fish sauce, lime, sugar, red onions, and cilantro.

The larb was pretty standard, but made with pork. I liked the fragrance of the toasted rice powder, and the salty/sour flavors went excellent with sticky rice. It was garnished with 3 sliced cucumbers and 2 slices of cabbage, served over a lettuce leaf.

The server said their hours will be from 10am - 8 or 9pm so I'd call ahead if you're having a late dinner (510) 832-2500. Thai House Express fans living in the East Bay will have to cross the Bay Bridge no longer.

BTW, they will indeed have the famed Pork leg stew noodle soup.

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Chai Thai Noodles
545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

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  1. Open today (July 4). The Nuer Kem and the Kao Ka Moo were both great. Taking orders of Yum Woonsen and Som Tum Thai to my parents later today, so I haven't yet passed judgment on them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lexdevil

      Thanks for the report. Was the chef in house? The server made a point of introducing me to him when I recognized the menu and made the connection.

      How were your parents' dishes?

    2. I went for dinner right after I saw your post - I haven't eaten at Thai House Express, so I can't make the comparison, but I really liked everything I ordered.

      Can't remember the names, but I had the fried sausage appetizer (a generous portion of finely textured, lemongrass-scented sausage - the skin was nicely browned and had an addictive snap - the sausage was served with cabbage, chilis, cilantro, and peanuts), the shrimp paste fried rice (maybe slightly wetter texture than I usually like in fried rice, but I'm such a sucker for the flavor of shrimp paste it's really hard for me to be critical of dishes that feature it), and what I thought was the catfish salad DezzerSF described, since it sounded so tasty, but I actually ordered a catfish entree with deep fried pieces of catfish, vegetables (all I remember were the really tasty green beans) and what I think may have been the same sauce described above for the salad.

      3 Replies
      1. re: daveena

        I think you actually lucked out on the catfish entree. I was actually going for the catfish larb, Larb Pla so it wasn't really what I wanted. After my visit, I read about others making the same mistake at THE.

        The sausage sounds good though, is it similar to the Lao sausage at Green Papaya Deli?

        1. re: DezzerSF

          had a "working" lunch here today.. . took great delight in the fact that the menu IS just copies of the THE menu. A few items are missing such as my favorite fried rice dish but the Pork Leg Stew is intact and almost as good as ever. It seems to me that they are using regular long grained rice as opposed to jasmine rice but that's my only quibble. . . the stew was delicious, the beef salad was amazing. It's very bare bones - very but the food is so good that I don't care. I am so very happy to have this so close to home!

          1. re: DezzerSF

            The flavor of the sausage is similar to the one at Green Papaya, but it's not as coarse in texture.

        2. nothing bigger than the four-tops there?

          1 Reply
          1. re: kc72

            no, it's very small, very modest. I am sure they could put two tables together if need be. They are very well spaced so there is plenty of room to reconfigure if you had a large group.

          2. since thai house express is our favorite thai restaurant, we had to check it out today for lunch. the menu looked the same so we ordered our usual.
            - yum neur (beef salad)
            - tom yum noodle soup
            - chicken green curry
            everything tasted very similar to thai house express. we asked for it hot and they kept to their word. the only complaint was that the beef salad was grisly and cup chunkier rather than thinly sliced. my husband still loved it. i'm so excited to not have to trek into the city for thai food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lucymom

              I was there today as well and had the Ga-Prow Talay, sauteed seafood combination with chilis, carrots, onions, bell peppers and basil. It came with a generous portion of shrimp, squid, shrimp balls, and fish balls. The squid were especially fresh and tender. I remember them including cubes of fish though at THE. I didn't specify spiciness, but the dish was pretty spicy with the inclusion of thai chilies. The owner placed the condiment jar of thai chilies in fish sauce on our table and that really took the dish to the next level.

              My friend liked the Kao Pad, fried rice with onions, egg and a choice of meat.

            2. Marcia Gagliardi's Tablehopper Newletter acknowledged the discovery by "a Super-sleuthy chowhound" (you) and included a link to to this thread.

              http://www.tablehopper.com/2008/07/ch...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Xiao Yang

                You know that day was funny. I remember staring at that grand opening sign and debating internally whether to try it or not. I must have walked back and forth on that corner about three times, thinking Pho or Thai? I think it was the hound in me that finally prevailed.

                Thanks for the link XY!