Everyday Eats: Duck Noodle Soup at J&T Thai Street Food

Moist strips of duck mingle with thin noodles in a rich, dark broth in this tasty Thai soup.

Know that feeling when you're eating a dish for the first time, and you just know you'll be back for a second, third, and twentieth time? That's what happened to me with the duck noodle soup at J&T Thai Street Food, a fairly new Thai restaurant in Linda Vista. The entire menu at falls easily within Everyday Eats territory: all items, from the curry dishes, to the "homestyle" plates and noodles are $8 or less, not to mention the soups, skewers, chicken wings, and lettuce wraps for $3. 

The soup starts with a cinnamon, star anise, and szechwan pepper-spiked broth with soy and mirin. It's rich and fragrant, with a sweet caramel undertone. Rice noodles, herbs, and green onion come next, followed by thin slices of duck. The meat is moist and tender, but not overly fatty. It's a generous portion, especially for just $7. At your favorite French bistro, this much duck could easily cost you double.

Pad thai is almost always a safe bet, and J&T's rendition (also $7) is no exception. I opted for chicken, but you can also get beef, shrimp, veggie, or even calamari. The sauce coating the noodles is sweeter than most, so you'll want to hit it with the lime wedge to brighten up the flavor. Need more heat? Adjust it via the control panel -- a caddy of chilis, pastes, and hot sauces -- at the table. I liked the tartness and heat that the chili paste brought to the plate, but a few of the diced chilis would to the trick too.

Other dishes that caught my eye include the pad prik king pork (stir-fried pork with green beans and chili paste) and steamed chicken rice, a dish of Chinese origin that's also a part of Singaporean, Malaysian, Hainanese and Thai cuisines that until now, you'd be hard-pressed to find in San Diego.

J&T Thai Street Food is located at 5259 Linda Vista Rd (map). At lunchtime, it can get busy and the dining room seating is fairly limited. If you're planning on getting takeout, order ahead online.

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