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Good ethnic eats in Pasadena


Trying to find a tasty, inexpensive to moderately priced restaurant in the Pasadena area for dinner tonight. I've seen several posts for Saladang and Saladang Song (sounds like Song is more our style), Chandra, and Kuala Lumpur. Can go for other non-Asian flavors as well. Prefer more authentic flavors rather than americanized flavors. Any suggestions?


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    1. re: ipsedixit

      I second the nod for Azeen's - excellent food. My general rule when eating there is 'the more people the better' because their menu is set up in such as a way as to promote ordering a couple sides and a couple of mains to share. So It's not something I veert towards when only two people are eating

    2. If you like Indian cuisine, try Mezbaan on Fair Oaks, just north of Colorado by 1.5 blocks, on the east side (between McMurphy's and Dominico's.) Excellent Indian food. I'm sure there are better Indian restaurants but not in the Pasadena area. I've tried them all and I keep returning to Mezbaan's. Keep in mind that it's Monday and some mom and pop places, are closed on Mondays; do call first.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joe

        Thanks, I'll keep those two in mind.

      2. I really liked the Crepe Vine in Pasadena. So much so that I went there twice on my last LA vacation - once for the seafood crepe and again for the duck. Just tell them to go easy on the salt.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Patricia

          that is so funny, because I went to Crepe Vine the week it opened and our complaint was that it was bland and really needed more salt! Looks like they still have some kinks to work out...

          1. I second Mezbaan for Indian. I'd also say that I like PresidentTwo Thai (above Europane on Colorado) better than any of the Saladangs. But the best ethinic food of any kind in Pasadena is probably Tonny's for cenaduria (diner) style Mexican on Orange Grove and Lake. it's open 24 hrs, cheap and they make fresh squeezed juices and aqua frescas not to mention killer food (just avoid the al pastor).

            1. For very very casual (as in, order and sit down) I am a fan of Father Nature's lavash wraps. They are quite tasty. And you're right next door to the venerable 21 Choices for dessert...

              2 Replies
                1. re: amandine

                  I third the recommendation for Father Nature's lavosh wraps. Very delish!

                2. Good Times Pita Kitchen on Arroyo Pkwy is good. Its also casual. they have excellent middle eastern food.

                  1. Thanks, everyone. We ended up going to Saladang Song because our friend we were meeting likes it and since we've never been we didn't argue. Overall, nothing to write home about. We ordered Yum Eggplant (grilled eggplant and shrimp in spicy lime dressing) which was good, the eggplant soft and the lime refreshing; Guay-tiao-gai (flat rice noodle soup with chicken)- the chicken was meatball like and it also had fish cake-ish slices which were pretty tasty, the clear broth seemed slightly sweet. I wouldn't order it again because of the broth, but the bf didn't think it was sweet. We also ordered the Kao-prik-sod w/vegs. The menu listed it as spicy but I didn't detect any spice. It basically consisted of mixed vegs. with bland, clearish brown gravy. Not exciting in any way. Then, the Gang-ga-ree (yellow curry with potato, carrot and coconut milk). It was also listed as spicy but was not. It was on the sweet side! What?! It was not complex or spicy at all. One big uncut potato and a couple of large carrots and the rest was tofu. It probably ranks as one of the most unenticing curries I've ever had. Our waitress never asked us about level of spice and I forgot to say anything. booo. The Thai tea, Cha-ma-nao (sweet iced tea with lime essence) is basically Thai iced tea without milk and with lime. That, I liked and hope I can find that elsewhere. I'm not an expert with Thai food, but I've been to Wat Thai and I'd rather spend my money there then Saladang Song. The atmosphere is kind of nice, but not enough to have me recommend this place to anyone. I thought Song was supposed to be the more authentic one of the two Saladangs, but it didn't seem so to me.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: blueberry pig

                      that's too bad yuou ended up there - there's definitely nothing to write home about there; all their food seems lazily made to me, and they can't figure out how to blend sweet sour and spicy - and usually the sweet predominates

                      1. re: blueberry pig

                        Neither Saladang is particularly authentic. PresidentTwo would have been a better Pasadena choice but less atmosphere than Saladang.

                        1. re: blueberry pig

                          I love Saladang, and I haven't heard the greatest things about Song. But in general, I wouldn't recommend going to Saladang if you are looking for authentic Thai food. It is its own cuisine-- kind of a California-inflected Thai-- and they're successful in that, so long as you go with an open mind (i.e. not expecting authentic Thai... and why should ethnic food always be "authentic?"). I am a huge, unabashed fan of the Saladang salad (shaved green apple with thai peanut sauce. Authentic? uh, no. Delicious? yes absolutely)

                          1. re: amandine

                            Okay, I agree, ethnic doesn't always have to be authentic. I've had plenty of "fusion" foods that I've enjoyed, but in the case of Saladang Song the flavors are not so delectable to me. It seems like they are holding back.