Dong Thap Noodles
303 12th Ave S
Phone: (206) 325-1122
If you are ever in the heart of Seattle’s International District, a visit to Dong Thap Noodles is a must. Sadly, with James rarely traveling with me these days, I doubt I can take on this diner’s Pho Super Bowl Challenge alone. I needed his help with this dish, and whatever’s going on in his head, I can only guess. Either he’s lost the passion (with this blog) or he’s afraid of really getting heavier if we continued our foodie adventures. His ongoing joke with me is that whenever we’re dining around in other cities, he always feels far more bloated by the end of the trip. There’s also the possibility he can not stuff his stomach like he used to.
I needed a hearty bowl to re-energize. After spending two-thirds of the day at the Washington Convention Center, I was starving. I met up with local friends afterwards and we went to Dong Thap. Upon entering the establishment, I gazed at the half empty gigantic-sized bowls on tables which still needed to be cleaned up. If only my pals had the appetite (you have to reserve in advance for the challenge), then maybe we could do it with a group of three. I can see five people tackling a single order and succeeding, but I had to wonder if rules exist for this challenge?
After looking at the menu, I found none. I believe it can be done if you bring Six Hungry Blokes. The tables can comfortably seat four. To add two more can be a stretch unless the tables are doubled up.
With four litres of broth, noodles and meat to consume within 90 minutes, you either win $100 to split amongst the group or you pony up $40 USD. I’m guessing that’s how much the ingredients cost to put athis giant-sized version of Pho together.
The noodles are certainly worth the price. The texture is perfection! I have not had the perfect noodle until now. Sure, back home has several operations who have their own technique, but there’s something to what’s made here to make me seek out every loose strand to chew down. Just like with ramen, the right amount of kansui has to be used to make it delicate and soft.
Since I was not tackling the challenge, no picture was immortalized of my presence here. Though I took a photo of my regular dish (see below), the large size was enough to do me in for the night. I got an extra order of tripe, which (unlike other places) is offered as a side dish than put into the main bowl. This treatment shows how the cooks here are careful in balancing the dish. Chili oil was suspiciously missing as a condiment as I wanted to add a bit of extra heat to my dish. Although I survived without it, I wondered just where can the proprietors Nick Bui and Khanhvan (K.V.) can go if they started making their own hot sauces? While Sriracha is a staple in Thai cooking, I did not want to start a war.
I must say, the egg rolls were just perfect. It had the right crispiness to them, and even my friends gave their seal of approval. They went for the vegetable version of the spring rolls. I was offered one of the flame roasted shrimp, and I was sent to heaven. It was juicy and had just enough flame roasted goodness to make me crave making an extra order. When I’m a seafood addict, I think I’ll return for their sea flavoured Pho the next time I’m here at this port city.
4 Blokes out of 5