Friday, October 15, 2004

Yai wins again

5757 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 (323) 462-0292

I love Ruen Pair, the dessert place in the same mall, Kanom down the street, and Sanamluang. I really like Palm Thai, Vim, and Kruang Tedd. But right now I think my favourite Thai restaurant in Thai Town is Yai. Last time I was there I had an incredible dish of roast pork - basically crunchy pork skin with fat and a little meat attached - with copious amounts of garlic and some gai lan (Chinese broccoli). It's in a mini mall a few blocks west of the true epicenter so the scene is more true believers and Thais than opportunistic hipsters. Much of the specials menu features salt fish - a sign that undiluted stinky Thai food is in the house. Tonight we ate:

Watercress and duck: Actually ong choy/morning glory/kangkong, cooked in a plain garlicky Thai-Chinese style with juicy duck meat. High level of execution.

Pad Thai Kron Kan (named for a Thai province): from specials menu, spicier than normal with raw bean sprouts on side.

Grilled beef salad: good beef with pickled chilli dipping sauce and raw veg. Citrus-y.

Pork leg with garlic and chilli: from back page of menu, Yai Specials. Somewhat misleading name belies deliciously tender pork meat with thick layer of fat, cooked with star anise and basil as well as chilli and garlic. What a delightful surprise!

What Yai lacks in Elvises, teenage soft rock bands, unusual regional favourites and nearby dessert spots it more than makes up for in soulful, intensely flavoured and unpretentious food. Now I have a fridge full of tasty leftovers including white rice for frying (now there's a sign that Yai is for the people). Thanks to Rebecca and David for a great meal!

Added info 120904
Went to Yai again last night and there are more dishes to recommend:
- Grilled beef salad with rice powder #21
- Jungle curry. Not too much chicken but balanced instead with a cornucopia of delicious veg incl. bamboo shoots, Thai eggplant (the little round guys) and many that defied identification. Waitress explained that a gingery root-thing with a tangy herbal flavour is called gkrachai (also spelled kachai)

You know you've ordered the right thing at Yai when the waitress nods ands says "Ah, Thai-style". A big shout-out to Kathy and Ian for toughing it out with the extra-spicy option - it's worth it!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Ocean Star seafood palace #268

Hong Kong-style seafood palace with dim sum recommended by Jerome of the Chowhound board and by Carl Chu's book "Finding Chinese Food in Los Angeles". 145 N Atlantic Blvd #201 south of 10 freeway before Garvey, on second floor of strip mall. Not too long a wait at 11am on Saturday.

Excellent traditional fare incl. smooth and silky har cheung (shrimp flat rice noodles) which are the Chan family benchmark for judging dim sum quality, and siu mai with delicate skin and tender filling. Large selection with many cart-borne cooking stations for noodle dishes, soup dumplings and fresh vegetables. Fine execution throughout. Some nouveau dishes such as deep fried shrimp ball on a sugar cane stick and nori-wrapped this-and-thats. Surprisingly cheap for a high-style palace at $12/head. Must try Sea Harbour for a shootout.

let;s try an edit

Friday, October 08, 2004

Shik Do Rak korean barbeque #267

A Korean barbeque place, 2501 W Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90006-2913 Phone: (213) 384-4148

Excellent barbeque that one wraps in delicate rice paper (duk) leaves - not as challenging as the assembly required for Vietnamese seven flavours of beef. The meats are mostly au naturel, with soy/citrus and subtle oil + salt dipping sauces. Grill is the domed style with George Foreman-esque fat draining hole, gas fired, waitress dumps large pile of finely cut beef rather unceremoniously on top but in minutes it will be delectable. Seafood pancake is mostly vegetables but good and greasy with occasional octopus pieces. Generous pan chan/small dishes that are replenished on request. Soothing faux stone waterfall on one wall and suit-clad Korean business clientele, as it was a school night we passed on the soju. Meal finishes with ice-cooled buckwheat noodles thicker than the naeng myun I've had before.

Another fine recommendation by "Sonia" of the Chowhound board.