The woman who owns Sokha Coffee, a colorful, rambling storefront on White Center's main drag, didn't hand me a menu when I sat down. I received a spiral-bound laminated flipbook, each page a life-size photo of a dish. I flipped through Glamour Shots of generic stir-fries, Thai standards like pad thai, and a couple of recognizably Cambodian dishes such as grilled meat skewers and Phnom Penh style noodle soup before spotting a photo labeled "lot." Were the thick white strands topped with fried eggs a type of root vegetable? Were they bean sprouts?
"No, they're lot," the owner explained. We proposed possible descriptions to one another a few times before coming to a consensus: lot are noodles made with rice flour. Consensus number two, agreed on after the order came: Lot are tasty.
After I spent a few minutes watching Cambodian soap operas on the big-screen TV in the corner, the owner brought out a platter big enough for two people, the stir-fried noodles covered in green onions, cilantro, and two pan-fried, crisp-edged eggs. She instructed me to pour a bowl of clear, sweet-sour fish sauce (almost identical to nuoc cham) overtop, and if I didn't like that, soy sauce and Sriracha. The short, translucent lot were thicker than udon, with a gelatinous quality to them -- not the stretch and bounce of yam-starch noodles, say, but almost crunchy, like jellyfish (this may selling lot to some people, but jellyfish has a remarkable texture). With a bit of wok char and the sweet-sour lime sauce on the stir-fried noodles, they tasted more like pad thai than Vietnamese bun. I cut into the eggs before tossing the noodles together so the egg yolk spilled out and blended in with the sauce. Lot, it also turns out, is rich.