Four generations of expertise in every bowl.
All the noodles at brand-new Dong Thap Noodles in the Chinatown International District are made fresh in house, and your happy mouth will know it. The owner’s family has been in the rice-noodle-making business in Vietnam for four generations. Here, they grind the rice on site, and expertise is evident in every bite.
The pho noodles, wider than usual, taste uncommonly fresh and massively better than most (give the mild broth a squeeze of lime). The vermicelli in Dong Thap’s bún (rice vermicelli bowls) is delicate, almost rich, sticky but still light. (These and more are also available to cook at home, for only $1.50 or $1.75 a pound.) Dining deals don’t come much better than Dong Thap Noodles.
The menu: Besides the customary pho and bún configurations, you’ll find fresh rolls stuffed with the excellent rice vermicelli, egg rolls with slightly mushy filling, clear rice noodle soup and udon. The House Special soup, with broth redolent of innards and beef shank, pig trotters, Vietnamese ham, tendon and pig blood cubes, is the kind that Anthony Bourdain loves — tasty, though not especially spicy-hot.
Dong Thap Noodles
303 12th Ave. S., Seattle
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Etc: credit cards accepted; no alcohol; street parking; obstacles to access (small set of stairs at the entrance)
What to write home about: The noodles. The noodles! THE NOODLES.
What to skip: The Pho Super Bowl Challenge: Finish an enormous bowlful — three liters of broth, four pounds of noodles, four pounds of meat — within one-and-a-half hours, and it’s free instead of $40 and you get a $100 reward. But win or lose, you’ll never want to see or smell a bowl of pho again, and what kind of life is that?
The setting: Brightly lit, with mod see-through chairs and murals of birds, blossoms and butterflies (plus one that says “I LOVE NOODLES”), Dong Thap is like a cute bubble-tea cafe. Friendly staff make you even more glad to be here.
Summing up: Bún with grilled pork and shrimp, house special spicy-beef rice noodle soup and fresh rolls was plenty for two and came to $23.50 before tax and tip.