If you happen to be around Chinatown and working up an appetite while stocking up on bulk Asian products from LAX-C (like a Thai version of Costco), a banner hanging in front of the neighboring E-Sea Fresh Noodle touting its duck noodle soup will definitely catch your eye, especially since LAX-C doesn’t give out food samples like Costco does.
I can’t tell you what the E in the restaurant’s name stands for (or what LAX-C means, for that matter), however I do know that E-Sea Fresh Noodle was formerly E-Sea Fresh Seafood, but decided to give up on hawking Thai seafood entrees and instead got into Thai noodling.
The menu is sparse, with fewer than a dozen Thai items, not including beverages. They also have a “Hinan” or Hainan chicken, however, it was obvious with the big sign out front and the waiter’s enthusiastic pimping out of the duck noodle soup that getting anything else would be blasphemous.
The broth is the strongest element, well infused and saturated with duck, star anise, cinnamon, rock sugar, soy sauce, and a bouquet of other ingredients like cilantro and green onions that bring it all to life. Not only is it full of flavor, but it’s somehow invigorating too.
Like the duck noodle soups at Rodded and The Original HoyKa Hollywood, the roasted duck meat is thinly shredded along with the sweet, fatty skin, and scattered all over the soup. The meat is more or less tender but can toughen up quickly in the hot liquid; this is why I prefer my duck chopped into bigger chunks or at least sliced flat and wide like the duck meat in the soup at Sapp Coffee Shop, so it doesn’t cook as quickly.
You can choose from a variety of noodles; I went with a Chinese skinny egg noodle, though a flat rice noodle would be just as good. Spice level is also in your court. (I went with mild this time.)
All told, in a sketchy part of town with few dining options that are both convenient and good, I found E-Sea Fresh Noodle to be a nice noodle-slurping sanctuary. Plus, you can pick up a case of Sriracha from LAX-C while you’re at it.
E-Sea Fresh Noodle (formerly E-Sea Fresh Seafood), 1100 N. Main St., Suite D, Los Angeles