The boat noodles at Zen Yai put me in a trance. I lose all awareness of my surroundings when I'm eating them. The people around me, the Top 40 music on the radio, the shenanigans on the Tenderloin sidewalk outside all vanish; the world is whittled down to my chopsticks, metal spoon, and the bowl of fiery red broth studded with noodles, meat, and greens. The beefy broth has the kind of heat that builds with every bite, tangy and musky, a bit sweet, and thick and rich. Soft, wide noodles provide textural counterpoints to the al dente greens and crispy pork cracklings. Bits of meat (beef or pork; I prefer beef) and liver... More >>>