★★★ Noodle Land Thai Restaurant- Redmond
Noodle Land is a Thai noodle house in the Seattle area, they have a few varieties of Thai ramen that has quite the different personality than ramen (麺) of neighboring China and Vietnam. I want to introduce a very peculiar Thai ramen called "Yentafo Noodle", or as some Thai restaurants call it, the "pink noodle soup".
The Soup - is spicy and sour, similar to tom-yum-kung soup, but with the yentafo sauce it adds a steady sweetness with every sip. Almost opposite from Japanese ramen soups, the yentafo soup gets most of its flavoring and complexity from the large variety of spices that is added to the soup. The sweet, spicy and sourness takes center stage, but with a lot of mysterious spices dancing in the background of your pallete. The redness of the yentafo (映豆腐) is a natural coloring from wheat malt used to ferment tofu, it is also used in BBQ pork in Chinese Canton cuisine.
The Noodle - are rice noodles served flat and wide (almost 3/4 inch wide). They are also very thin, as you can see in the picture in the middle bottom part of the bowl they are almost transparent. These noodles aren't meant to be chewed on, instead they are slide right down your throat as you sip the soup.
The Toppings - are an interesting bunch. Shrimp, squid, fish balls, fried tofu, boiled spinach and a lot of coriander. Though I hear that the toppings for this can vary, some places will even serve intestines and pigs blood with yentafo.
Overall - the yentafo noodle is a new favorite for me, I will search the Thai restarants in the area for and try more varieties of this dish. After eating a lot of heavy, oily Japanese ramen it is nice to eat something so light and fresh tasting. Next time you go to a Thai restaurant see if they have a soup noodle section, the yentafo noodle might be only available but written in Thai only.