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!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should try Nadpob Thai that opened recently in a strip mall at Sunset and Fountain in Silverlake. The food is a phenomenal standout in the sea of Thai restaurants on the east side.

5:11 PM  
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