What the critics had to say...
The following artices were written about either Noodle Planet or our sister restaurant, Noodle World. We have accumulated several reviews over the years in many different languages. Check back on this page soon for updates!
Snow cones of the gods - From LA WEEKLY
The shaved ice-and-fruit dessert at Noodle World gives you three choices from 20 different fruits (including such exotics as jackfruit, toddy palm, lychee, rambutan and taro) covered with crushed ice and slathered with sweetened condensed milk and/or coconut milk. For true decadence, drizzle with green and/or red syrup (the first flavor is called cream soda, but has a more fragrant taste; the second is somewhat akin to grenadine). A little bit of tropical paradise in a bowl! Warning: This is a full bowl of dessert — best shared with a sweetie. (Price: $2.95.)
—Jedd Birkner LA WEEKLY
Oodles of Noodles - From Westways (AAA California)
Accompanied by her daughters, writer Susan Straight digs into Vietnamese noodles at Pho Saigon in Riverside. All across Southern California, we lean over tables and counters at meals, delicately handling our noodles. With chopsticks or forks, pulling them in carefully so the sauce doesn't coat our lips, we live on the endless formations of starch that have always meant survival and pleasure in Asia and, now, in California.
Years ago, the only noodle dish many Americans knew was chop suey, which rolled off the tongue exotically but meant nothing, Chinese people told me. It was a dish made up for American culture. Now, restaurants featuring food from all over the Asian continent flourish here, offering complex dishes highlighting the comforting, nourishing ingredient.
Think about the infinite varieties of the slippery pasta. Thin vermicelli swimming in a rich broth of pho, the heartwarming Vietnamese noodle soup. Large flat noodles coated with garlicky black bean sauce for pad see euw, the Thai dish I love best. Thick, nestled Japanese udon, with a texture like velvet, slipping across your teeth, the delicate miso broth clinging to the noodles. Cambodian phnom-penh, with garlic and spice and cilantro on the side for cool green contrast. Chow ma mein, a spicy Mandarin stew of chili, squid, and mussels, the handmade noodles my favorite part, nudging my tongue.
As a student at USC in the 1980s, I loved udon, introduced to me by my Japanese-American roommate and her family. But we laugh now when we think about how often we survived on instant ramen, the cheapest noodles most Americans know. We ate Sapporo Ichiban, a Japanese version, and laced it with eggs and green onions, for many desperation dinners.
When my children's godmother dated a man from Bangkok, we discovered the many fascinating and spicy Thai noodle dishes. And when I taught English as a Second Language, my students and their parents frequently served me dinner. Laotian families cooked rice noodles in a pale green sauce of cucumber, Vietnamese women brought me spring rolls filled with glass noodles and spicy pork, and my Cambodian friends invited me to weddings where stacked silver dishes held noodles with garlic-chili sauces, sliced steak, and lettuce on the side.
I realize how inventive we have all been: the people of China and Japan and the many countries of Southeast Asia, and in America, all boiling the bland mixture of flour and eggs, rice and water, whatever we use for dough to form our noodles, whatever shape we make them. We immerse them in something salty or spicy or sweet, add small bits of meat and vegetables, and we live.
We live well.
How lucky we are in California to have the melding of all this, what others call the Pacific Rim culture, but what I know is the way we love each other: We share our methods of survival and pleasure, we trade our spices, and we offer our food.
Our favorite places for Asian noodles:
BEST PHO HOME AWAY FROM MONTEREY PARK
From LAWeekly, Best of LA 1997
At this sedate Pan-Asian restaurant,
you would be well advised to study the menu. Think of it as your rough guide
to a palate that's worlds away from your own, particularly if yours was raised,
as mine was, on meat loaf and mashed potatoes. (Note to the uninitiated:
The spicy shrimp paste, a staple in Thai cooking, emits a funky odor that
overwhelms the diner and dampens the appetite.) To those looking for
a bowl of pho comparable to Mom's or Auntie's, Noodle Planet
(its name is a misnomer -- for it serves more than noodles) will seem like
home or at least remind you of Monterey Park.
BEST ASIAN SLUSH
Also in the best of LA 1997
From a country renowned for its full-contact kickboxing, spicy food and pointy
gold hats comes an icy-cool dessert -- the Thai Slush. And nobody makes one
better than Noodle Planet. Choose from more than 24 ingredients, from sliced
pineapples, gelatin and tapioca to such imported Asian delicacies as water
chestnuts, lychees, and sweet basil seeds that look like miniature eyeballs
($1.75 for three items, $.50 for each additional item). After your choices have
been put into a bowl and drenched in coconut milk, they're buried under a
frosty avalanche of shaved ice and doused with creamy condensed milk or
semi-sweet Thai syrup.