37. Phnom Penh Noodle & Cha-Kwai at Little La Lune
Mmmm, Cambodian donuuuuttsss....
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The Phnom Penh Noodle is what you're here to eat; strands of rice noodle similar to your last bowl of pho swim in a clear pork broth as sweet as life itself. This kind of broth is the lifeblood of Cambodia Town. The elixir is coaxed by slowly simmering pork bones until they surrender all of their goodness, and as you slurp the first sip from your steaming bowl, you find layers of flavor--shades of sugar, the tang of fish sauce, a hit of white pepper, all of it within the embrace of the pork.
But just as coffee is better when you've got a donut, a meal here isn't a complete without a cha-kwai--deep-fried dough sticks that resemble golden femurs, which are, yes, essentially donuts themselves.
They're a buck each, and you should order one, even if you don't intend to cut it up to put in your soup, which is what you're supposed to do. As your teeth breach the slightly oily but feather-light crust, you remember how these coveted items run out by noontime at Trieu Chau in Santa Ana, the last place you had Phnom Penh noodles. Here at Little La Lune, it's supplied all day long and fried so fresh they can't be handled for the better part of a minute.
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