Monday, August 7, 2006 10 No tags Permalink 0

Somewhere in Chinatown there is a place. A tiny tiny place. With a big big menu. Like most Vietnamese restaurants. You could get lost in this sea of offerings that range from pho to ban xeo but there is only one reason to come here. Oooooh, it’s for the lamb baby, the lamb! And lamb in my most favorite form – curry! Yes! Lamb curry.

I don’t remember the name of the place (maybe you can make it out in the photo), but it’s behind the fish market section in Chinatown, next to the big green dumpster. It doesn’t look like it belongs there, heck it doesn’t even look like there’s enough space to operate a restaurant. Hehe. I bet the owner could get away without paying rent. It’s THAT tiny.

My dad brought our family here for lunch on Wednesday after a recommendation from a friend who spends most of his life wandering the streets of Chinatown. He’s a Laotian farmer from the Ewa side, so it’s fair to say he’s got Chinatown restaurants down to a pat.

The interior looks like the living room of a small apartment. 6 square tables with plastic covers and worn seats. A TV in the corner playing Vietnamese musicals (very entertaing!). Cans of soda and coconut juice along with soybean milk and grass jelly drink piled up in another corner. Register and kitchen to your left. Yes. There is a bathroom. I believe they share it with the fish people :)

You come here for the lamb curry and nothing else. It’s beautiful! Your choice from curry with mein, noodles or baguette (guess what, the baguettes come from Saint Germain!) And I love Saint Germain. And I love bread. So I did what I must. Soft cuts of lamb stewed until beyond tender with fantastically large chunks of onions bath in a most wonderful bath of thick spicy curry, hearty with all these wonderful flavors which I won’t bother to explain. You should just come here. Tear off a chuck of the warmed baguette and dunk it in, soak it all up. Slide apart a piece of lamb. Do it in one mouthful. You won’t regret it. Upon departure, your lips will be red and ruby moist as a result of all the heat and spice. Looks like you made out with someone for a bit too long!

Both my parents are of the “mein” (egg noodle) breed. They like to chew. I like to dip & soak. We each have our preferences. In the mein version, the curry is thinned out just a tad so you can drink it up like soup. I had half of my mom’s (I think she was on a diet) and I’ll admit, I almost liked it more than mine. The curry is still thick enough so that it clings onto the noodles, dragging up tiny cuts of chili peppers and herbs. The lamb is just as wonderful, if not more, with bites laced between spicy hot slurps of noodles. I wish I could sit here all day and eat bowl after bowl, but I splash a bit (or a lot, however you consider it) on my white shirt and it probably should be washed out. It looks like someone dumped chili on me. That’s what happens when you eat with too much gusto.

My sister. In terms of Vietnamese & Japanese cuisine, her food preferences are limited to udon and pho. That is is. As she has tried pho and udon from tons of restaurants here, she has a pretty set standard. What the standard may be, I don’t know. But she rated it mediocre.

And it looks pretty mediocre. That’s why you don’t get pho at a restaurant that looks too small to cook anything other that a great big vat of delicious curry – besides, who in their right mind would pass up curry! It’s lamb for heaven sakes :)

Somewhere in Chinatown…
I’ll try find the address!

10 Comments
  • Robyn
    August 7, 2006

    SEND ME A VAT OF CURRY, NOOOOW!!!Nice address: Behind Fish Market, Next To DumpsterI don’t know if I’ve ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant where I had the choice between noodles and bread. I’d love bread! Mraaah! AND VAT OF CURRY!

  • anonymous
    August 7, 2006

    intrigue (it’s behind the fish market section in Chinatown, next to the big green dumpster) for h’dourves, so to speak. you shoulda been a mystery writer.

  • Reid
    August 7, 2006

    Kathy,What else is good here? The place looks familiar, but I don’t normally eat lamb curry, so I don’t know.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    August 8, 2006

    Hey Robyn!Or we could get curry AND bread. Now that would be a party :) Oooh, you have to try the Saint Germain baguettes – they’ll make you go insane and I know you’d really appreciate them! :)Hey Ron!Ooh, now that’s something to consider – but all my mysteries must involve a great deal of eating!Hey Reid!There were a few other occupied tables and everyone was eating lamb curry, so I think that’s the path to take there :) My sister’s pho was…eh, not very good, lol.

  • anonymous
    August 8, 2006

    Okay add one to my list…….I love lamb!

  • anonymous
    August 9, 2006

    Hi Kathy,I enjoy your blog alot,great stories and fun adventures. Do you recall which fish market this was? mauka or makai of king ?btw you mentioned awhile back about that blended drink you sampled and purchased at palama supermarket..the Korean markets also sell a packaged variety consisting of 10grains;it has that nice soy bean taste,suppose to be a breakfast type of drink according to the clerk.

  • anonymous
    August 9, 2006

    If only they provided the recipes, too :(

  • anonymous
    August 11, 2006

    mm..ur posts always make me hungry…

  • Kathy YL Chan
    August 12, 2006

    Hey Kirk!Did I ever tell you that my taste for lamb developed only after reading all the posts about the lamb adventures you and the missus go on! I blame you for this wonderful addiction!Hey Shar,Thanks for the comment! It was on the makai side of King, but I’ll go jot down the address next time I pass by. Oh man, those Korean drinks are so good, even the nutrients are just an added bonus! Hey Tristan!Sob – I wish! But even then, I’d probably be so lazy as to go and buy in instead, lol :) Hey Ed!If they didn’t, then I would be failing to reach my goal! :)

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