Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Red Corner Asia - Thai Town

Last week, J and I went to Yai for some Thai fare. We were in the mood for noodles and again, we revisited Thaitown in a span of one week. I remembered reading Jonathan Gold's review on Red Corner Asia and how he describes it as one of the more popular places in Thaitown to eat at. We drove down and knew exactly where it was. You can't miss Red Corner Asia with its circus-like neon sign. Striped in green and yellow lights, the restaurant lures foodies like an angler fish in the deep sea. On the roof of the restaurant, a yellow banner is stretched across, noting their late closing time of 2 AM. We walked in and were immediately greeted by the manager, a kind-looking man, and three waitresses standing by the door. I think it's a Thai thing - to have the waitresses wait by the door. I like that. We were immediately showed to the table in the center of the room. But being foodbloggers, we had to be picky about our seating because we wanted the best lighting possible. We ended up sitting near the kitchen window and got a full glimpse of whole chickens riding the ferris wheel of death. Jonathan Gold writes about that chicken dish, known as the volcano chicken. Prior to serving, a whole chicken is doused in Bacardi 151 and lit up at the table. I can only imagine that the employees are quite sick of hearing the ooh's and aah's of this restaurant gimmick.

Funny, a fly just landed on my computer screen - right on top of the Red Corner Asia food photos. Does this place have flies? Or is it super hungry? haha.

Anyway, we perused the nicely layed-out menus and knew exactly what to order. I noticed that there were some pseudo-Thai dishes like Tempura, Kung Pao Pasta and Bangkok Calamari which we steered away from. It's a possible sign that RCA caters to the majority and offers watered-down Thai food. But you should try it for yourself. Here's what we had:

We started out with Angel Wings, which were stuffed with ground pork, vermicelli and veggies. Although they only give you two pieces, you can seriously make a meal out of this because they are gigantic. Talk about force-feeding a chicken to buff up their muscle mass. The chicken was crisp and fried beautifully and the pork mixture was flavorful. This comes with sweet n' sour sauce, but I prefer to use fish sauce. This can easily work as an appetizer for 4 people. $6.95

Next came the Fish Cake On Sticks. These consisted of fish paste, red curry paste, fish sauce and green beans impaled on a piece of lemongrass. Again, it was served with sweet n' sour sauce. I liked this dish a lot but prefer the version I make at home. It wasn't spicy enough. J didn't care much for this dish because of the chewy texture. $6.95 for 5-6 pieces.

Pad Kee Mow is a favorite of mine. Basically it's chinese Beef Chow Fun but with chile, basil and garlic. The beef was a bit burnt from the wok cooking but still had taste. Overall, this had nice flavor but definitely wasn't the best I've eaten. Try it out though. This dish convinced J that there are better tasting noodles in addition to her favorite, Pad See Eew. $5.95

Now for the dish I yearn for in any Thai restaurant. This is basically like Thai pho, only with beef, liver, tripe, beef balls in a hearty brown soup. You can't find this on the menu, so just ask the waitress for it. Compared to Yai's Thai Boat Noodles, this is lighter in the beef flavor and more watery. I appreciate the amount of veggies they give you but is still somewhat bland. For Thai Boat Noodles, give Yai's and Sapp Coffee Shops a shot. $5.95

I've only eaten at 5 places in Thaitown, and Yai, so far, has been reigning. I'll be reviewing Sapp, Palms, Ruen Pair, Ord and Sanamluang soon. I have yet to try the dishes Jonathan Gold has recommended, but as of now, I won't be back to RCA for a while.Thanks for reading.

Red Corner Asia
5267 Hollywood Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 466-6RCA