Everyday Eats: Drunken Noodles at Saranya's Thai Cafe
A farmers market vendor goes brick and mortar
Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 08:00AM
With the opening of Saranya's Thai Cafe, a farmers market vendor has gone brick and mortar. The humble restaurant in City Heights is owned by Thai-born chef Saranya, whose coconut milk pancakes draw a crowd at the Oceanside, Hillcrest, and Little Italy farmers markets.
On the menu, you'll find all of the standbys: curries, noodle dishes, and sweet, milky drinks, but the one dish I'll urge you to try above all others is the drunken noodles ($9.00). On top of broad rice noodles coated with a chili-tinged sauce and mixed with a scrambled egg is a generous heaping of Chinese broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts, and basil leaves, all lightly cooked to deliver maximum crunch. The medley of vegetables is thoughtfully calibrated, with the broccoli bringing bitter notes, and the carrot rounding it out with its natural sweetness.
At spicy level 3 (out of 10) the noodles had a noticeable, but not overly aggressive kick. I'd suggest ordering it at level 5 or above if you're a heat-seeker.
If by chance you veer too far outside of your comfort zone, a bowl of ruam mit (aka "Tropical Medley") will set things right. The sweet, soup-like dessert features chewy additions like palm seeds, coconut jelly, jackfruit and tapioca pearls floating in sweetened coconut milk. A handful of bobbing ice cubes keep the coconut broth cool, giving it the same refreshing properties as a Thai iced tea or coffee, but with significantly less sugar.
Saranya's Thai Cafe is located at 3695 University Avenue (map) in City Heights