Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Taste of Siam

So the other day while I was Yelping for restaurants in the Tustin, California area (yes I use Yelp, and am crazy about it), I came across a restaurant called Siam A Taste Of Asia in Santa Ana, California. It had recieved and overall five star rating by fellow yelpers and had reviews that raved about the food. I had to try it for myself.
This discrete little family owned restaurant is located on a corner of a small strip mall; it's one of those restaurants you have to keep your eyes peeled for. From its exterior appearance, you would never suspect that delicious, home-cooked, Thai food lies beyond its doors. Upon entering this restaurant I was greeted a black, wood carved room dividers (very asian-like), but just beyond that was a small room with a capacity of about 36 people. The walls are adorned with delicate and detailed wooden carvings and other art work. My admiration of the art was broken by an extremely welcoming petite Thai woman who offered my boyfriend and I a seat under one of the beautiful art pieces near the entrance.
As I browsed though the menu, the steak salad caught my eye. Earthy cilatro, ice berg lettuce, carrots, shredded red cabbage, a spicy chili, fish sauce, lime dressing all topped with a perfectly tender medium rare skirt steak (or it could have been flank steak I'm not too sure) made for an amazing combination of food. It was one of the best Asian salads I had ever eaten. Although the spicyness (which I had regretfully asked for VERY spicy) kicked my butt, the intense and pungent aromas of the sweet, spicy, and savory flavors chili, fish sauce, and lime, (one of my favorite combinations) had my tastebuds screaming for more.
For an appetizer we ordered fried tofu. Now, I have to admit that I am already a huge fan of tofu, but when you fry silken tofu and throw fried garlic bits all over it and serve it with a side of a sweet chili fish sauce then you have me SOLD. The contrast of the crisp and cruchy exterior with the steaming hot silken tofu center dipped in a tangy, sweet, spicy, and savory sauce was a texturally and flavorfully pleasing combination.
(The picture here makes the dish look...well...half eaten, and it's because it was half eaten. See, I have a tendency to indulge in delicious looking food when it's put right under my nose before I come to the sudden and rude realization that I had forgotten to take a picture, so as a scramble for my blackberry with a mouth full of fried tofu, this is what I managed to capture before the dish was savagely attacked my my boyfriend and I. And did i mention that we love this dish? Infact we went back a second time just for the fried tofu.)
The second time that we went back (which was only about two weeks later, I decided to try the tom ka gai. This chicken based soup is made with green onions, chilis, cilantro, straw mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal (which if you're not familiar with galangal, it's a root that looks similar to ginger but has a very unique flavor). The same petite Thai woman that sat us down during our first visit took out order. She gave me the option of having the soup clear or with coconut milk. "COCONUT MILK?! YES PLEASE!" Anything with coconut milk makes my ears perk up. She also gave me the option of a bowl or hot pot, and knowing me ofcourse (with my eyes being bigger than my stomach and all) I asked for the hot pot, which was about 3-4 servings and was only about 3 dollars more than the bowl.
My goodness was this soup delicious! It was tangy, spicy, savory, and sweetness, not the sugary kind of sweet, but more like the sweetness that comes from making chicken broth when the bones are cooked for hours, made the soup so delicious. The balance of flavors and variety of flavors hit all the right notes on my tongue. It was the best tom ka gai I had ever tasted.

Here are some other things that we ordered during our visits:

Green Curry (straw mushrooms, egg plant, bamboo, asparagus)

Mango and Sticky Rice (brown sticky rice, mango, and condensed milk)

Steamed rice (fancy container, no?)

Pad Thai (bean sprouts, cilantro, peanuts, lime, chicken, scallions)

1 comment:

Ting said...

yummy! wow it seems like you guys ordered lotsa food :)