This Tuesday's Ten Dolla Holla is pretty much the opposite of a New Year's resolution. I'm not branching out, or trying something new. I didn't just come across this dish. Khao soi, a northern Thailand soup with a sweet mix of yellow and red curry, has been my number one thing to eat anywhere I can find it since returning from the flavor-rich country. It's the perfect, brothy reason why Thai food has such a positive reputation: savory, sweet, spicy and always fresh tasting.
Manao Thai Street Eats on Capitol Hill has answered my khao soi call. (The crew at Manao actually added the soup to the menu because I was saddened by the lack of my favorite dish when I first visited.) Subsequently, they notified me and I returned to see what they had brewed up.
Sure enough, everything I love was in the bowl, but with a few tweaks. The balanced broth tastes like a mix of tamarind spice, yellow and red curry and has a bit of a peanut taste to it, akin to a spring roll dipping sauce. The crispy fried noodles are a bit thinner than usual, so the liquid will soften them more quickly, which means they'll blend with the other, already-boiled, Chinese-style noodles that await underneath all those crispy noodles and pickled shallots.
When I was in Chiang Mai, the first bowl I had was actually vegetarian, but here at Manao, I went with the chicken iteration ($12, yes a few bucks over our usual $10) to pump it up even more. If you like ramen, khao soi is right up your chopsticks.
At first glance, Manao appears to be a regular sit-down restaurant, but it operates cafeteria style. After ordering at the register, you take your number and wait for your savory bowl of goodness to arrive in about 10 to 15 minutes. And not surprisingly, it's all well worth the wait.
Manao Thai Street Eats; 1222 E Pine St. / 206.556.2964