At the suggestion of Ckoh, we met for dinner at Red Corner Asia (RCA) which is located in Thai Town. It was a change from Palms Thai which is the usual dining spot for when Ckoh comes to town and gathers Pdho and all their friends together and which also happens to be the only other Thai restaurant that I’ve ever been to in LA. Not only is it known for its deliciously tasty food, but it’s probably even more popular because of the Thai Elvis who performs regularly every night.
The beauty of eating with Ckoh is that you can sit back, relax, and feel rest assured that a good variety of food will be ordered for you to enjoy. Honestly, after giving the menu a once over, I was glad to have someone else decide. There was such an extensive menu and it all looked so good that I don’t think I could have picked just a few. Interestingly enough, as Ckoh rattled a bunch of different dishes off, I think he probably could have ordered the entire menu if given the opportunity. Hehe!
We started off with the Angel Wings which was two boneless chicken wings stuffed with minced chicken, silver noodles and vegetables and deep-fried. This was fantastic! The chicken filling was well-seasoned, but the best part was the hot and crispy battered outer layer. Delicious! It was a unanimous favorite around the table that we ordered a second serving for our late-comers.
The Yum Calamari was steamed squid tossed with spicy lime juice, onions, cilantro, mint leaves and served on a bed of lettuce. Although we ordered it medium spicy, it still had quite the kick which kept my taste buds tingling after several gulps of water. Aside from the spice, the squid was really well prepared. It was tender to chew (although Pdho and my brother said this was because the squid was slightly undercooked) and very tasty. The blend of lime and spice made for an excellent salad dressing.
The Golden Shrimp Balls, similar to the Angel Wings, was served with a generic although tasty sweet and sour sauce. They were lightly battered and deep-fried to a golden brown. Although I really liked these shrimp balls as well, I can’t say it was terribly unique. In fact, it tasted a lot like the fried shrimp balls found on the typical dim sum cart, only smaller. I still thought they tasted yummy
We lingered on these appetizers for a bit until some other friends arrived… and then we ordered the main entrees, most of which came off the Chef’s Recommendations section. The Crab Pad Thai was very interesting. Normally, I prefer pad see ew when it comes to the different types of Thai stir-fried noodles, because I find the sometimes tangy or sometimes peanut-ty taste of pad thai a little bit odd to the taste buds. However, this pad thai was topped with a crab and egg omelet which was very tasty. I liked the fact that they used real lump crab meat, and it was a nice change from the shrimp and tofu that I usually find in most pad thai’s.
The Tom Yum Soup was kind of plain. Strangely enough, the soup was neither hot nor sour which is what Tom Yum is all about. They went a little light on the tamarind and some of the herbs that normally goes in the soup, because it tasted a little bland. There was a lot of chicken and mushrooms in the soup but not really much else.
Tri-Colored Fish was a whole trout deep-fried and topped with a garlic and chili sauce. Normally, trout has a lot of bones usually small little ones, but since the fish was fried till every part was entirely crispy, you could basically eat every part of the fish without problem…. bones, tails and all. The sauce was a sweet and sour like sauce which went very well with the fish. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the Thai dipping sauce that comes in a bottle.
The Volcano Chicken was served as a whole marinaded chicken placed on a stake upon a flaming plate, hence the name. Although the presentation was impressive with the fire and all, it didn’t fool me into having very high expectations. It looked like a rotisserie chicken except the skin didn’t look crispy enough. Surprisingly though, this turned out to be one of the better dishes of the evening. The chicken was really moist and juicy throughout and very, very flavorful. I highly recommend it, because it’s very special and not something you can find at any ole Thai place.
No meal should be complete without vegetables (although I admit that it does happen sometimes), so we ordered the Morning Glory with Oyster Sauce. These vegetables are tasty. I can’t really tell many of these vegetables apart, but I could have sworn that these vegetables were much more bitter when I’ve had them in the past. Instead, these were tender, flavorful and rounded out the meal very well.
In spite of all 7 of us being pretty stuffed by this point, we all felt like we had to at least try some desserts. The coconut ice cream came topped with palm seed, red bean, toddy palm, jackfruit, coconut jello and peanuts. Although I do not like coconut flavored things very much, this was okay. However, the Sticky Rice with Mango was undoubtedly the yummiest of the two. The sticky rice was lightly flavored with coconut milk and the mango was perfectly ripe. There was the right amount of sweetness which was complemented by the sticky rice. I really liked it.
Overall, I was really, really happy with Red Corner Asia. Although I’ve only been to Palms Thai a couple of times, I think the food here is a lot better. We all resoundingly shared this consensus. All the dishes are pretty tasty, some of them, notably the Angel Wings and Volcano Chicken are very special. The prices are reasonable and the restaurant itself is brightly lit and clean. The biggest critique is the parking situation since the lot is valet only, but this relatively insignificant and shouldn’t be a deterrent.
Red Corner Asia
5267 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
PAFO Ratings for Red Corner Asia:
Price 2½ stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars