Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Red Corner Asia - Thaitown

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
www.redcornerasia.com

16 comments:

Santos said...

i've tried the volcano chicken, and it was just okay--it was like one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens set on fire, but nothing really exciting about the taste of it--it even came with steamed veggies that looked like they could have been from an industrial-sized frozen pack (but i'm not sure they are). i thought the food was okay--better than a lot of the westside places near me anyway--but like you, i'm not anxious to return. i'll take unadventurous family members there, maybe.

Santos said...

oh, and they kicked us out at 11pm....

monkey_see said...

ohhh Sanamluang. . . a college hangout.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Santos, I knew right away it was a gimmicky dish. I've seen that done at Chan Dara in West LA and I saw people's faces light up in astonishment. Quite funny, b/c you can do that to chicken from KFC if you dump some tequila on it. I'm going to stick to the places you've tried - Ruen Pair and Ord.

Monkey_See, Sanamluang is next on my list. Thanks for dropping by.

Blogger said...

looks like a damn good place . . . . i'm gonna check it out next week!

elmomonster said...

Dang that's a bright sign. Great review eventhough the food didn't sounds like it impressed you much.

rick james said...

wow... yoony was raving about Yai too...

if 2 L.A. Asian foodbloggers both agree on sumpin so strongly must be true...

i'm so there, and thanks for reviewing all the thai places cause my ass too lazy to do all that work or think... thinking is overrated most of the time...

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Gary, try Yai - i think it's more authentic.

Elmo, the food was fine just not the best I've eaten.

Ron, I tried Yai after reading some links off of Yoony's page. Hope you like it man.

Passionate Eater said...

With a name like "Red Corner," I thought they would be a communist Chinese place for sure. And you are so cute that you want the seats with the best lighting! I usually take what they give me, but I think I'm going to be pickier next time!

monkey_see said...

eatdrinknbmerry, I can't wait to read your review. I hope Sanamlaung is still serving up tasty food. I loved walking into that place late in the evening and being the ONLY americans in the joint.

Anonymous said...

i like the chicken noodle soup at sanamluang (great after a night of drinking esp if you add the chiles in vinegar - sobers you up real good) and i like their pad kee mow too. I really like the tofu at ruen pair, its kind of denser than other tofu i had.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Hi PE, photoshop can't help that much if you don't have a well-lit photo to begin with. The people saw us taking photos and were probably like "cool, free advertising".

MonkeySee, yeah Sanamluang is next. It seems that the majority of Thai food fans like to eat there, along with Yai and Ruen Pair.

Anonymous, any bowl of soup noodles is good for the head and liver. Thanks for the recommendation. I recommend Thai Boat noodles.

BoLA said...

Hahah! I've seen the Volcano Chicken show out in MICHIGAN too ~ of all places?! And like Passionate Eater, I too am going to be pickier with getting a good table with plenty of light. =)

Anonymous said...

thank you for treasuring the vietnamese foods. the vietnamese people are still trying so hard to bring their dishes to this country but after 30 years, they are not done yet. much more to love if u can go to see our country. food is god in vietnam. they love to eat three meals a day if they have money and there are not much of size 16 in our country.thank you for your writing about vietnamese food. my english is poor but just want to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

thank you for treasuring the vietnamese foods. the vietnamese people are still trying so hard to bring their dishes to this country but after 30 years, they are not done yet. much more to love if u can go to see our country. food is god in vietnam. they love to eat three meals a day if they have money and there are not much of size 16 in our country.thank you for your writing about vietnamese food. my english is poor but just want to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

Been eating here religiously for the last year! LOVE LOVE LOVE the Crab Pad Thai, Spicy Papaya Salad, Tom Yum Soup and Crispy Duck Panang Curry. Great review!!!

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