You may not have heard of Boat Noodles before. Apparently, it’s an LA thing (they have Thai Town after all), but here in Chicago, it can be hard to find.
Which is a shame, because Boat Noodles, at least at Jin Thai, stand out among other soups as richer and more full bodied, tangier, spicier…it’s soup on a whole different level.
Jin serves either pork or beef Boat Noodles. Each bowl has the corresponding meat broth, sliced meat, beef or pork little meatballs, some greens, rice noodles, crispy-crunchy pork crackling bits on top for texture, bean sprouts, herbs, fresh chile sauce, and if that’s not enough already, you also have a tray of condiments to customize your bowl. The soup has that wonderful sour-spicy-slightly sweet combo that we all love in Thai food, but of course you can always make it hotter! The condiment tray has chilies many ways, peanuts and sugar.
Like many Asian soups, this one is utterly craveable. And there’s just something nourishing about bone broth based soups. This is Grandmother’s food; food based on the intuition and wisdom that slow cooked broths are good for us. I like it no matter what the weather is doing, but it’s especially comforting fall and cool weather food.
The Adventures in Eating in Chicago series is inspired by my love of ethnic restaurants in Chicago and the dishes I am most passionate about in particular. I get a lot of questions about what my favorite Thai, Indian etc. restaurant is, and the answer is never straightforward, as I will hit up one spot for the best panang curry and another for a great pad krao prow. I hope this series inspires you to get out and try some new dishes, and when you do, drop a comment here!