Pho and Tom Kha had a lovechild, and it’s delicious.

I’ve waxed poetic before about my deep and undying love for two soups hailing from the culinary wonderland that is southeast Asia; pho, with its rich spiced broth and tangles of rice noodles, and tom kha, the milky coconut soup exploding with complex flavors of chili and lemongrass.  Imagine my giddiness when I discovered that the two, at some point in time, got together and made sweet spoon-slurping love, producing a hybrid soup!  I discovered this treasure at a tiny hole-in-the-wall  restaurant called Thai Express, stealthily located next to an abandoned liquor store on Inwood Road just east of Harry Hines.

It’s called Coconut Noodle Soup on the menu, and it’s basically a giant bowl of tom kha ga (its flavorful broth punctuated as usual with tiny and adorable straw mushrooms, moist, tender chunks of chicken breast, scallions and cilantro) poured over a heap of chewy rice noodles.  If you order it spicy, as I did, bright red-orange splotches of chili oil adorn the surface like fat raindrops of sinus-clearing goodness.

I typically order tom kha as an appetizer, since its lack of starch means it’s not very filling, but the addition of rice noodles turns it into a satisfying main course for under eight bucks.  Also, Thai Express is BYOB, so grab some beer or wine on your way in; besides the abandoned liquor store, there’s also one in the shopping center that’s still open.  You’re welcome.

Thai Express, 1715 Inwood Rd

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