|My Day in Southeast Asia (not really)|
| It doesn't rain
often in Los Angeles but when it does, like it did today, I revel in
the delights that such weather affords: clean air, washed landscape,
dramatic sunlight. Winter storms also induce me to seek out the kind of
food that combats the cold: hot and spicy.
So, today, I took a trip to Southeast Asia. Uh, yeah, I wish! What I really did was to have lunch at a Thai restaurant and, afterwards, pick up a banh mi.
Recently, I read a glowing review by James Oseland, EIC of Saveur Magazine, of Ganda Siamese Cuisine in Thai Town. According to Oseland, Ganda "serves the most authentic Thai food in America." For such an assertive declaration, my only response was: Gotta go. Now. Funny thing to me is that for years I have been eating next door at Ruen Pair and I have never thought about giving Ganda a go.
At Ganda, diners have a choice between ordering à la carte or doing the point-and-choose from their beloved steam table. If you go with the steam table, two items will cost you under 6 USD and three, under 7 USD.
I ordered a two-item combo: Panang Curry with Pork and Fried Catfish with Basil. I also ordered a Papaya Salad (6.99 USD).
I really liked the food here. The flavors were deep and satisfying. Of the three different dishes I ate, I must say the Fried Catfish with Basil was my favorite.
The Papaya Salad was a solid version. I ordered it "hot" spicy rather than "mild" or "medium", and, as always, I got that questioning response ("Are you sure?") from my server. Towards the end of my meal she checked in with me about the spiciness of the salad and I bravely, if disingenuously, answered that it was fine.
How Much I Paid: For a two-item combo, one dish from the à la carte menu, and table service, a little over 18 USD.
My Rating: One and a half stars out of four stars (good to very good). CASH ONLY. There is a parking lot on site, which converts to valet parking at night. Website: http://gandasiamesecuisine.menutoeat.com/
Last Word: I definitely recommend you try Ganda as you will see a few dishes here not commonly found elsewhere.
After lunch, I drove around a bit, getting lost on purpose to discover new sights. Before I went home, I decided to drop by Mr. Baguette in Rosemead to do a comparison test of their banh mi against Lee's Sandwiches.
I got a Saigon banh mi to go (3.35 USD).
The verdict? I have to go with Lee's because 1. I like the fillings better, 2. It's cheaper, and 3. You don't have to fuss with a ridiculous little package to finish dressing your sandwich. However, Mr. Baguette does come out on top in one respect: their baguette. It's crispier and offered with sesame seeds.
My Rating: One star out of four stars (good - revised 04/27/2011). On site parking available. Website: http://www.mrbaguettesandwiches.com/