Chowdown at Ran Kanom Thai noodles
Chowdown at Ran Kanom Thai noodle in San Pablo.
7 chowhounders enjoyed yummy thai food at Ran Kanom Thai noodles in San Pablo Friday night.
They now have artisan organic beers and cider on tap and some of us sampled them.
Here is what we ate:
24.Lao Style Green Papaya Salad with Salted Fish Sauce
26.Green Papaya Salad with Peanuts and Salty Crab
30.Green Mango Salad with Crispy Anchovies
A friend gave me a large supply of fresh Sichuan peppercorns and I brought some for the chef owner as a gift because I knew she would appreciate them. To our delight she made us a fish dish that featured them. It was very Chinese inspired with black beans and lots of numbing from the peppercorns.
F. Crispy Rice with Nam Sausage. A new addition to the menu and a favorite of ours.
32.Larb : Minced Pork Salad
6.Thai Boat Noodle (Choice of Beef or Pork)
16.Kaw Soi (Chicken)
For dessert we had:
Mango with sticky rice
Baby banana in coconut milk
Black rice with taro and young coconut
Comments: I didn't try the Green mango salad because I am allergic to unripe mangos but my husband thought it was fantastic. The papaya salads were both great although the flavor profiles were similar. Boat noodles were even better than we remembered. I thought everything was really good. My favorite dessert was the black rice which reminded me a little of one we tried at Kin Khao in SF.
Thanks to Ridge for organizing-- it was a fun time and well worth the trip to San Pablo!
Link to the menu: http://www.rankanom.com/menu.html
F. Crispy Rice with Nam Sausage. This was a much more sour version of Nam Khao than I've had at Bay Area Lao restaurants, but it was well suited to the high proportion of lao sausage. The crispy rice was dense and crunchy and there didn't seem to be much of it--- was there not a lot or did I not portion it well?
6.Thai Boat Noodle. The broth had a good body and the taste of blood didn't have an overwhelming presence--- for that reason, I liked this version better than Zen Yai's. The intense broth got boosts of pork from some scattered pieces of fried pork skin.
Green Mango Salad with Crispy Anchovies : Excellent. The cool and juicy mango was a great foil for the crunchy, salty, anchovies. The mango was sweet.
I agree with Ridge that, peanuts aside, the flavors were similar between the green papaya salads. I liked both.
Khao soi : it was my first time eating khao soi and I liked it, but not so much that I can understand its following. What were those big flat crunchy things? Those were very good with the soup.
Baby banana in coconut milk. Excellent.
Appreciate you organizing this ridge! I had a great time. My first chowdown!
I agree, the two papaya salads were pretty much the same, though I think I slightly preferred the Lao style for a bit more evenly distributed flavor. The green mango and anchovies was interesting. I liked the texture (crunchy and juicy-soft) and the ingredients individually were good. But personally the combo of salty fish and sweet fruit is not my favorite.
Loved the Nam Kao Tod (sour sausage with crispy rice). I agree that it was light on the crispy rice but heavy on the yummy sour sausage and cilantro so I can't really complain.
With the waitress's recommendation we got the Thai boat noodles with beef and the wide rice noodles. A really excellent combo. The noodles were toothsome, slippery, and soaked up the tasty broth beautifully.
Pad Thai was surprisingly sweet, given how unsweet most of the other dishes were.
I enjoyed the khao/kaw soi, it's probably my third favorite version. Favorite is from Lotus of Siam in Vegas, where the last bits of broth-soaked noodles in the bowl can turn an otherwise convivial table to bitter rivals. Nothing I've had since has even come close. I like the one at Muang Thai in Albany a bit better than Ran Kanom's as MT's has a more forward curry taste, but this one was pretty good. At least it wasn't overly sweet or fatty. I don't want it to be like dessert noodle soup.
That black rice dessert was amazing. Perfect texture and balance of sweet and creamy, with just enough salt to keep it from being cloying, but not so much that it tasted salty. The chunks of soft taro in it tasted like little pillows of coconut milk, how does she do it? Taro in dessert soups is usually so bland and mushy. The other desserts were very good too (especially the young banana) but the black rice is one I'll go back for.
I took many of the same photos that hyperbowler did, so I wont bother with repeats but I do have a shot of the khao soi.