Their “hidden kitchen” is just as close to them as the real thing. Make this for dinner tonight!
If you live around San Francisco Bay area or the wider Los Angeles area, Thanh Long Restaurant and Crustacean are likely familiar to you.
Not only did their distinctive garlic noodles and roasted crab impress food critics and foodies alike, but they also helped start a multi-million restaurant empire for the An family. They are initially from Vietnam, which now boasts three locations and is growing!
Family members churn out garlic noodles and roasted crab using secret recipes passed down for three generations in the “Secret Kitchen,” a wholly enclosed kitchen within the central kitchen that is off-limits to all employees.
The garlic noodles and roasted crab at Thanh Long, a Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco, were two dishes I had previously appreciated, but I hadn’t had a chance to revisit them until last week.
At Crustacean Beverly Hills, we had roasted crab, grilled tiger prawns, and Maine lobster with garlic noodles, all of which were excellent.
The garlic noodles tasted just what I remembered them to be. The roasted crab was underseasoned and overdone, in my opinion.The crab’s juices had dried up by the time I got to it, so I believe it was boiled and then baked.
A pleasant dish, but nothing special, were the lobster garlic noodles. Grilled tiger prawns with garlic noodles were the most outstanding dish on the menu. The grilled prawns’ sweetness perfectly matched the garlic noodles.
Everything we ordered that night was very salty. Regardless, their food and, more significantly, their “Secret Kitchen” and family recipes fascinated me.
I had to rely on my senses of taste and sight to decipher the secret formulas. I looked through the leftovers from the roasted crab entrée, looking for signs of exotic seasonings like cracked black pepper, roughly minced garlic, and butter, but I couldn’t locate any.
Additionally, I took a box of garlic noodles with me to eat at home.
I think I’ve figured out the majority of the issues.
Crustacean’s garlic noodles with roasted crab took me a long time to make on my own. I added the seasonings one time, attempting to replicate the original flavor.
I’m sure my methods and ingredients differ from the “secret” ones, but there aren’t that many different ways to make garlic noodles or roasted crab to call them “secret.”
What I make at home is as good or better than what you can find at Crustacean, and it’s a fraction of the cost/price! It costs US$11.50 to have garlic noodles and US$41.95 to get grilled crab.
In terms of the “Secret Kitchen” myth, I’d say it’s more for the sake of clever marketing than actual usefulness.
What is the average number of calories in one serving?
- Each serving of this recipe contains only 193 calories.
With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?
I’ve compiled a collection of recipes that are both healthy and quick enough to prepare on a weeknight.
- BALSAMIC ROASTED POTATOES
- ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON PARMESAN BREADCRUMBS
- APPLE CHICKEN SAUSAGE SALAD
- BROWN BUTTER MAPLE ROASTED CARROTS
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 20 oz. (566 g) yellow noodles
- water, for boiling the noodles
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon Maggie seasoning sauce
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tbsp minced garlic or more to taste
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
CRUSTACEAN-INSPIRED ROASTED CRAB RECIPE:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, 8 tablespoons
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 3-4 cloves garlic (chopped coarsely)
- 2 teaspoons black pepper (cracked using a mortar and pestle)
- 1 Dungeness Crab, about 2 lbs. (800 g)
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
- Discard the oil from the noodles by rinsing it under running water. Drain and put away.
- Add water to a pot and boil. Cook the noodles by adding them to the boiling water. The noodles will become soggy if you overcook them. Drain the noodles in a colander over a bowl.
- A medium-low heat pan is ideal for making garlic sauce. Garlic should be cooked until aromatic, but not browned, in butter once it has melted. Stir in all of the ingredients until well-combined in the pan. Place the garlic sauce in a small basin and set aside.
- To eat, simply mix the noodles in the garlic sauce and serve. Toss in the cheese and mix thoroughly. Serve right away.
- The crab should be cleaned and chopped into small pieces. Sauté the garlic in the butter in a wok over medium-low heat until fragrant but not brown. Make sure to mix everything together thoroughly before adding the crab. Halfway through cooking, add in the sugar.
- Bake it for 30 minutes at the temperature of 350°F (175°C) in the oven. Toss with garlic noodles and warm through.
- Garlic noodles can be served as individual servings by placing some noodles in a bowl and adding a small amount of the garlic sauce to your preference, as desired. Before serving, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.