“Don’t look directly at the Sriracha. Don’t look directly at the Sriracha.” I silently chanted to myself while I sat at our table at Quan Hapa and carefully twisted the top of the bottle open.
This post is part review, part PSA. When opening Sriracha, don’t look at it. And for the love of all that is holy, point it away from your face.
Of course, there is a story behind my statement; a few years ago, when I was really enamored with Sriracha and was putting it on everything like a madwoman, I was in the kitchen turning the nozzle to “open.” I looked down as I was opening it and the bottle gave a little ‘splurt,’ which catapulted Sriracha upward. DIRECTLY INTO MY OPEN EYES.
The searing pain was immediate and my brain abruptly shut off. David heard my whimpering and discovered me clutching my eyes and spinning around in a circle in the kitchen like a short-circuited Roomba. He led me to the bathroom where we flushed my eyes out.
Happily, there was no such incident at Quan Hapa because that would have seriously derailed our review. We’ve been meaning to go there for quite some time, but it never seemed to pan out. This past weekend, we decided that we were going to make it happen.
David started with a beer he had never had before, which reminded us of a cream ale. It was rainy and cold outside, so I opted for some hot sake, which was served in a fun little can. We were too early for happy hour, but Quan Hapa’s looks solid.
I was curious about the wings and David wanted a salad. The wings were hot and juicy--though a little messy with the sweet nuac mam (fish sauce) and honey glaze. The nuac mam added a little funkiness which I enjoyed.
David’s hapa salad (I appreciated that the server did not try to set it in front of me for once) had some crispy sweet potatoes, some kick from watercress, and a nice coconut milk curry dressing.
For entrees, David selected the modern pork belly banh mi. On the menu it lists pickled papaya, but we didn’t really taste it in the sandwich. The pork belly was excellent, but we missed the usual addition of fresh jalapeno or paté. Le’s still wins for best banh mi for now.
If you want spice, try the sambal, but beware, it will destroy you
I’ve been wanting to try the ramen, so getting something else was out of the question. I chose the Hapa ramen, but I also added fried tofu, which I highly recommend. You can also build your own ramen if you’d like.
roll that beautiful broth footage
The ramen broth was very flavorful but not too salty, and I enjoyed the little white and pink fish cakes. The noodles were springy, and the egg was expertly poached. The pork belly was crispy and the flavors reminded me of red-cooked pork. It was a little large to try and eat with chopsticks, though.
About those chopsticks: Quan Hapa uses plastic chopsticks, which I can understand the reason for, but when eating ramen, take it from say... playing Bayonetta on ‘very easy automatic’ vs. ‘normal.’
harder to beat than Grace and Glory in Chapter 6
I will definitely be back for the ramen and to try happy hour. Quan Hapa has a nice draft list and sake selection. Also of note: They take reservations, which is rare for smaller restaurant, and even rarer for a smaller restaurant in OTR.