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Jitlada's amazing Southern Thai menu

Thanks to Chicago hound Eric M.'s rather obscure post a few days ago, we tried some of the Southern Thai specialties at Jitlada which has been under new ownership for a year now. Wipe away all memories of the old Jitlada, print out Eric's translation
(http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...) and get over to Jitlada if you want a really unique, authentic, and yes, possibly painfully hot Thai experience.
Here's some photos:

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  1. Thanks - great review and pics. I'm there next week for sure. And thx for the link to Eric's work - wow. That red snapper looks crazy.

    1. I also ducked into Jitlada becomes of EM's post a few days ago. I looked at the back of the menu at the portion written entirely in Thai. While some specialties were out of stock (or out of season), that menu is certainly large enough to warrant coming back to do more explorations.

      I printed out the translation the morning of Eric's post and they were a little bit confused at how I was armed with such information. Needless to say, I hope they're ready for the "Chowhound effect" as fans flock.

      I had the oxtail soup (which actually reminded me of something I might find at the Thai chain frequented by the Mexican population, Thai Ocha) as well as the soft-shelled crab curry which was amazing.

      Haven't completed the blog post yet, but the pics are uploaded:

      18 Replies
      1. re: SauceSupreme

        wow, the soft shell crab curry looks interesting -- what was the spice level like?

        1. re: Chowpatty

          It had heat but not enough to distract away from the flavor, only enhance it.

          To give you an indication of my spice tolerance, at Chili My Soul, I can eat a 6 with no problems, 7 gives me a delightful burn, and at 8 I start noticing the spice more than the flavor of the dish.

        2. re: SauceSupreme

          Is this the soft-shell crab listed on Eric's menu translation (No. 18)? and if not, then please please give us your insider info. on how to order this because I simply must have some. Thx.

            1. re: mc michael

              WANNA BET? i'll thumb-wrestle for it!

              but still need to know if it's a special item that Eric needs to identify for us...please Eric, don't keep us in crab limboland!

            2. re: Local

              It's on the standard menu under seafood.

              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Thank you...i went to their website but menu/info. pages won't open, Eric's trans. was tempting enough- your photo of the soft-shells...well, sealed the deal.

                ...at least the website gives a map- I can set the OnStar...(now if i could just find my car keys)...

                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  You raved about that particular preparation after your first visit and I don't doubt that it was indeed great, but if you are ever feeling a bit more, ahem, *adventurous* on one of your future visits, I would encourage you to try the soft-shelled crab curry which appears on the Southern menu (and on my translation of the same, i.e. "phat phet luuk taw puu nìm"). [FWIW, it also appears on the standard menu under the heading "Curries," as "Southern Curry with Soft Shell Crabs."] At any rate, this prep. includes a very notable Southern delicacy called sa-taw, or the "sator bean." Similar in appearance and texture to a locust "bean," sator has a bitter and pungent flavour profile which folks come away from absolutely loooooving or absolutely HATING. Like I said, though, only if you are feeling *adventurous*



                  1. re: Erik M

                    for a group of 4 or more, would both at one sitting for a side-by-side be too much? (...imho there can never be too much soft-shelled crab). really appreciating your insight, this is a marvelous read...almost can taste it. wish i had smell-o-vision. (guessing the sator bean can't be any stinkier than durian, true?)

                    1. re: Local

                      I think two orders of the curry would be great for four, particularly since you're probably ordering other things off the menu as well. It might be too skimpy if that's all you were ordering among the 4 of you.

                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                        well, actually what i meant was orders of both types of soft-shelled crab ( one in your photo and the one with satar bean that Eric described) - would that be too much of a good thing?

                        but yes, absolutely double orders of whatever we get, or there won't be enough for at least two if not three people ;-)

                        1. re: Local

                          I actually meant what you meant also; ordering one each of the different soft-shelled crab.

                          If that's all you're going to eat, then order two orders of each crab dish, but I would just order one each if you plan on exploring other things on the menu. Worst case scenario is that you have to put in another order!

                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                            or take something home...we are most definitely on the same page ;-) thx.

                      2. re: Local

                        Put it this way, ordering both dishes side-by-side would be, traditionally-speaking, rather "un-Thai," but if that's what you want to do, knock yourself out. <smile> Generally speaking, two liquid, rich-style curry dishes of any sort is one too many for a standard Thai table array. Thais instead are after balance, and if you are interested in putting together a traditional-style meal at Jitlada which has a decidedly Southern Thai-accent, it'd be much more "proper" to order some combination of the following for a party of four:

                        -One or two grilled or fried snack/appetizer items
                        -One or two simple salads
                        -One clean and light soup
                        -One rich curry
                        -One or two meat and/or vegetable stir-frys
                        -Loads of steamed white rice <smile>

                        If you look back at my original writeup--the one which included the photographs--and you look through the *second* series of photos therein, you will get some idea of what I am talking about composition-wise.

                        Good grilled or fried snack/appetizer options from Jitlada's menu(s) would include beef or chicken satay (a classic Southern Thai snack), country fried chicken, Thai honey ribs, and dried/fried beef "jerky."

                        Good salad options from Jitlada's menu(s) would include beef salad, squid salad, coco mango salad, pickled crab salad, raw blue crab salad (available by special arrangement), Amphoe Pak-style papaya salad, crispy catfish salad,

                        A good soup option from Jitalada's menu(s) would include the tom yum, sup hang wua, tumeric-seasoned soup with chicken, sour and spicy soup with giant shrimp, and poh tak. [NB I would NOT order tom kha, as it is not neutral enough to counterbalance the richer Southern-style curries and frys. Besides, depending on which curry you order, tom kha could be rather redundant with all of that coconut milk going on.]

                        A good curry option from Jitalada's menu(s) would include green curry with egg-yolk-stuffed fish balls, Southern Thai-style curry with dried mudfish and water spinach, spicy curry with beef and pickled cassia buds, spicy tumeric-seasoned curry with catfish and wild tea leaves, Phat(tha)lung-style spicy, tumeric-flavoured dry curry with pork or beef (NB It's hotter than hell), and massamun lamb shank (a classic Southern curry).

                        Good stir-fried meat and/or vegetable options would include the various fried whole fish dishes, chinese water crest [sic] on flambe [sic], chinese broccoli with crispy pork, chinese broccoli with salted fish, asparagus stir-fried,

                        --It is important to note the conspicious absence of both noodle and fried rice dishes in my list of suggestions above. Again, ordering these items as part of a traditional Thai table array would be rather "un-Thai." <smile> There IS, however, one rice dish which I would encourage any explorer of Jitlada's Southern-style offerings to try: kao mok kai. I very often liken this classic dish to Thai-style "biryani." <smile>

                        In any event, there are no "rules" when ordering Thai food so please feel free to dismiss any/all of the above commentary entirely. <smile>


                        1. re: Erik M

                          ZIKES Eric, i feel as if i should be buying you dinner!!...all the Thai eating essentials...this is fantastic. i've highlighted key pts., will use as crib notes when no one is looking... whaddya bet i see some other diners holding on to the same ;-)

                          ...some of our group do not carry the asbestos tongue and plumbing gene that I and a few others feel fortunate to have 'darwin-ed', ...but it appears there's something for everyone.. again, much appreciated. L.

                      3. re: Erik M

                        Sataw/petai is delicious, but it does haunt you a bit when you go No.1. Think 'powerful asparagus'. Don't let that stop you, though. Lots of people love asparagus, right? Besides the flavour Erik mentioned, the beans also have a wonderful texture: firm and slightly chewy, like al dente pasta.

                    2. re: Local

                      i had the soft-shell crab about a week ago.
                      it was a truly, wonderful, amazing dish.
                      i can't remember how, exactly we ordered it.
                      the combination of flavors and textures was indescribably phenomenal.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        As they say in the parlance of today's youth... soft shelled crab curry: off the hook. I love that dish. Just the right combination of textures and spices and oh man where has the dish been all my life. Add a little bit of steamed rice and it's perfect.

                  2. Oh, my God, I couldn't be happier!
                    That is a great writeup, Patty.
                    Thanks so much for taking the time.
                    And, thank you all for the votes of confidence!

                    Erik M.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Erik M

                      Eric, if you have any other finds, we're listening/reading!

                      1. re: mc michael

                        Hi, mc michael

                        I mentioned (and provided menu translations) for three other establishments in the original thread:


                        I have a few more in the works, including a lengthy piece on Ruen Pair which includes a detailed explanation of why, exactly, all of those Chinese-style dishes can be found on the menu. <smile>

                        But, if you want something else to chew on right now, read my post linked above. Therein, you will find a link to my review of the hyper-authentic Northern Thai offerings at Spicy BBQ Restaurant.


                          1. re: mc michael

                            Jitlada Thai was the second meal I had after returning from Chicago, 2 days after I had a lousy meal @ Lotus of Siam (geez, what a sham..)

                            Jazz reports business is up. I also met another foodie couple who've read Chowpatty's post.

                            I have to put in my 2 cents here:
                            The "coco" mango salad has a distinct taste of coconut water. It could be the abundance of peanuts, but I'm pretty sure it's coconut water.

                            The egg-yolk-stuffed fish balls green curry is extremely tasty. And it won't burn you a new discharge hole like the tumeric beef.

                    2. Dang that sounds great. I used to go there ALL the time.

                      Do they have beer?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        Yes, they have beer and a rudimentary wine list. Now all they need is to lay in some good wine like at Lotus of Siam in Vegas.

                      2. Visited again today for lunch, as I had to try out some of the "wet" curries, and I'll indeed confirm that it was some hot hot stuff, but in very exciting and flavorful way.

                        It's my new favorite Thai restaurant. Sorry, Ruen Pair.

                        My blog post (with pics)

                        1. Thanks Eric M. for the translation. I loved the clams in curry with tea leaves. So good! We also had the fried red snapper with the fried garlic on top and the dried fried beef jerky. I will be back to try the steamed mussels and flambeed prawns they told us about. I like how all the waitstaff are the kids/niece/nephew of the owners. Thanks so much!

                          --oh and I forgot to mention that I was disappointed that I forgot to bring my copy of Eric M's translation. I described what he did and they brought out a copy that they had printed! They were thrilled to say the least and I saw them giving the translated menu to other parties as well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: choctastic

                            Hi, choctastic

                            Thank you for the feedback. I spoke with Tui just the other day and he told me that the response so far has been tremendous. I am so glad that you too had a good experience.

                            That clam dish ("kaeng hawy bai cha-phluu" in Thai on the Southern menu) is one of the most unique dishes that I've tried so far, and I found it truly delightful. BTW, in case you didn't already know, "bai cha-phluu," or the "wild betel leaf" which is used in that dish, is the very same leaf traditionally used in the Thai snack, "miang kham."

                            On my very first visit I got a glimpse of that acclaimed steamed mussel dish as it made its way to another table. Captivated by the manner in which it was presented, I asked Jazz about it and she was quick to say, "Very popular with the Thai customers. One of the favourite!" That is all that it took for me. <smile> At any rate, I don't remember hearing about the "flambe [sic] prawn" ("kung sa-dung phao" in Thai on the standard menu). I will have to ask about that the next time.


                          2. Whoa is this a fantastic (re)discovery. Thanks to Erik and Patty!!!

                            Descended on the place last night with 4 friends and let Jazz do the ordering. We loved it. Especially the previously mentioned Soft Shell Crab curry, the mango salad, the fried fish w/garlic.

                            PLUS...a very respectable Khao Soi, the hard to find curry-coconut noodle (don't know if it is on the menu but Jazz's face lit up if I asked if they have it). A beef curry was kind of tough. A pad thai was wonderful.

                            20 Replies
                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                              More notes: the eggs used in the stuffed fish ball green curry is indeed salted duck eggs. This remains my fave dish in the entire menu so far.

                              We had the fried fried tumeric sea bass topped with fried garlic today. Splendid dish. And my Southern Thai friend insisted on ordering the Kaeng Tai Plaa. AGAIN. I cried like a wuss after 3 teaspoons. They ordered it "regular". Jazz said it could have a bit more kick.

                              Translated menu now on Yelp as well. Jazz's daughter served us tonite in between watching Korean drama. The whole family was there including the son's girlfriend, the son, etc. Ciao Bob's party was brought up in passing conversation as well.

                              Manila mangoes is utilized in sticky rice and mango at this moment. ALMOST as good as Taiwanese mango shaved ice. almost.

                              Finally, I really do not understand the comment suggesting Jitlada get themselves a wine list like LoS, an insult IMO

                              1. re: TonyC

                                excellent- , we go in two weeks, and am so ready! where is the seabass on the spice scale, does it lean to the mild or hot side? again, sounds great.

                                1. re: Local

                                  That one is not too spicy at all -- Fried Garlicky Yumminess. I have to admit one of my party wass not a heat fiend. She ordered a simple pad thai, I expected to be underwhelmed, but noooooooo waaaaaay.....it was the best pad thai I ever had. They do things righteously. The green mussel starter has a broth no one could stop dipping their shells into to slurp it up.

                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                    Excellent- another one to add to the list ;-) ... and the pad thai sounds like the perfect safe haven for a few in our group - i was afraid that if everything was high octane, they'd never talk to me again (or never be able to).

                                2. re: TonyC

                                  Why is it an insult to suggest they get a better wine list? It was just a passing comment and not something I would necessarily take advantage of as I'm fine with beer, but there are no Thai restaurants in L.A. with real wine lists and judging from this board, there's lots of wine lovers out there -- so why not, if someone at the restaurant happened to be interested in pursuing it?

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    I'm not a frequent poster, but I am a frequent reader and I dragged three friends out to Jitlada last night. It was certainly the best Thai food I've had in the U.S. We just moved to L.A. and my Thai town tasting has just begun, but I've already forgotten about poor old Sriphapai in Queens, my previous gold standard.

                                    Between the 4 of us we ordered 5 dishes. We started with the mango salad, which was almost smoky with coconut. It was spicy, but the spice didn't overpower the sweetness. Very good.

                                    We ordered 3 curries, we wanted to follow Eric's advice, but we were just drawn to the curries. I guess there was no risk of us being mistaken for authentic Thais anyways. We had the green curry with fishballs. I loved it but my SO thought that the duck yolks were somewhat foot-smelly. I thought the spicing was not overpowering and the vegetables were perfectly cooked - the thai eggplant was not at all mealy. Plus, the green curry itself was among the best I've ever had. Our next curry was shrimp and pineapple in turmeric broth. We ordered this mild, so I can only imagine what spicy would have been like. My poor squamish friend. The broth was thin, and it had an almost Tom Yum flavor profile - the pineapple sweetened the firewater nicely. I was also impressed that the shrimp were not overcooked. Very nice. The last was my favorite. Catfish and wild tea leaves in turmeric curry. It's hard to describe how great this was, the tea leaves were a little bitter, but they added a dark richness to the broth. Again the catfish was cooked just right in the broth. The spice in this dish was intense, but it grew slowly and didn't mask the complex flavors. One of the best things I've ever eaten.

                                    Finally, we were already full when our seabass with turmeric and fried garlic came out. That didn't stop us from picking it clean. Our waitress (Jazz I think) suggested that we pile some mango on top of it - that was a great idea. Again, the fish was cooked perfectly and the garlic was sweet without being burnt.

                                    Thanks so much to Eric for his translation, all of our menus had the translation on the back page and Jazz was just thrilled that we were there. It was a great night. I can't wait to go back (but first, I can't wait to eat my leftovers).

                                    1. re: dfarbman

                                      I've been going to Jitlada a lot since Erik's first post, and was thrilled to see the translation finally make it as part of the menu. I showed up last night in a party of five at 9pm, and I think I might have seen you guys there. I brought a Thai friend of mine whose family is from southern Thailand and she was completely beside herself. Usually, as the resident 'hound in my group, I'm the one who does the ordering, but she took over for us and whipped up a great meal. My favorite was this minced chicken dish that resembled larb but was deeper in flavor and less sour and more smoky. It was served with an iced bowl of veggies, so I dipped a fresh cucumber slice in there: the interplay between hot and cold was amazing. We also ordered the soft-shelled crab curry (dry) as well as the pineapple and catfish curry (wet), the mango salad, a baked chicken dish of some sort, and I think one more that I'm forgetting at the moment. We closed out the meal with mango and sweet rice. After tip, it came out to $20 each for the five of us.

                                      1. re: dfarbman

                                        So is Jitlada honestly better than Sriphrapai? Substantially better?

                                        1. re: Jack Barber

                                          The fun is in the testing of the hypothesis - come on out and take it for a spin and let us know what you think.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            Thx. I only asked bc I'm in LA for a limited number of meals; live near Sri in NYC, which I find quite good; there's little to no good Mexican in NYC; etc.

                                            1. re: Jack Barber

                                              Sounds like you have good Thai and are missing top notch Mexican, so that probably makes your decision easy. You can always try Jitlada on your next trip if you still want to do a comparison test. Where are you thinking about for Mexican food?

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Mexican yes. (Also sushi.)

                                                Mexican I'm batting 50% on Jonathan Gold picks:

                                                -- El Parian -- birria was good (although not much better than the only other birria I've eaten, @ red hook ballfields in Brooklyn). Tacos (carne asada + carnitas) ginormous but unremarkable, in our opinion.
                                                -- El Huarache Azteca -- huaraches w/ carne adobada were tremendous.

                                                In the absence of much time to research I'm cheating w/ JG's Essential 99 from last Nov. Kind of have to work the food picks in with other activities. (visiting w/ wife + kids.)

                                                Interested in La Casita Mexicana if we get down that way. Best Fish Tacos of Ensenada and Yuca's are near where we're staying (Silver Lake) so will prob hit them at some point. Not sure what other Mex. Maybe one of the Oaxacan places? In the past I haven't gone too far wrong eyeballing taco joints that seem to do a decent business.

                                                Sushi I've always hit Echigo, Nozawa, Katsu-Ya, or Tama depending on where I am. All much better than anywhere in NYC that I've tried. (never been to masa.) Also interested in Asanebo and Kiriko from Gold list.

                                                Other possible plans:

                                                -- Langers if indeed it's the best pastrami in North America.

                                                -- Is Los Balcones de Peru worthwhile? Love Peruvian style ceviche.

                                                -- Korean bbq -- going w/ friends, not sure which place.

                                                -- Possibly that Phillips bbq, if they indeed have best ribs outside of KC.

                                                would love any guidance that's out there.

                                                1. re: Jack Barber

                                                  For Mexican food, people have been raving lately about a place in Mar Vista called Mariscos Chente: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585334

                                                  It's in my neighborhood but I still haven't made it over. I have a Mexican friend who got very, very excited when I told here about this place which is a satellite of a store in East LA somewhere; evidently it's very famous in certain circles!

                                                  1. re: aliris

                                                    Thx looks great -- particularly as pre-LAX drive-by...

                                                    1. re: Jack Barber

                                                      If you are interested in Korean BBQ then Parks is the place you want to try. Have you read about Babita? It seems to get higher marks than La Casita. Not sure about Los Balcones - but the cerviche at Mariscos Chente is wonderful. For straight up sushi I find Sushi Zo on the border of Culver City and WLA the place to go. Finally, if you go to Yuca's then the thing to get is the cochinita pibil in either taco or burrito form.

                                                      1823 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                      Park's BBQ
                                                      955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                                      Sushi Zo
                                                      9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                    2. re: aliris

                                                      The very first shrimp dish on the menu at Chente is delicious. Our party of four wasn't that wild about anything else we tried, especially the cocteles. portions are huge and service friendly.

                                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                        which one is the first shrimp dish on Mariscos Chente's menu?

                                                      2. re: aliris

                                                        not really a satellite.
                                                        the two locations are run by different members of the same family.
                                                        sergio only cooks at the mar vista location

                                                1. re: condiment

                                                  Meaning Sri v Jitlada -- Assume you're a Jitlada partisan?

                                        2. Well, Jitlada lived up to all my expectations! Jazz greeted us enthusiastically ...and when she saw me clutching my Eric M. print out, she ran immediately to grab a notebook of the pictures and menu printed from this thread...she wanted to know my board name, and then began sharing a list of other hounds who'd recently been in, also mentioning the party of 20 scheduled for tomorrow night (eatingla folks is that you?).

                                          We started with the vegetable spring rolls and chicken satay, then THE green papaya salad with shrimp and red onion, stir fried asparagus, pad thai, THAT SEABASS with crispy garlic, THAT SOFT SHELLED CRAB with curry, and THOSE green mussels...incredible. I had fixated on THAT SOFT SHELLED CRAB since first viewing SauceSupreme's flickr pic, and was not disappointed...same with the fried fish with crispy garlic...we picked that pescine clean...but even as incredibly good as both the soft-shell and finned friends were, the true deal maker was THOSE MUSSELS, and not so much for the easily extracted molluscs as for THE BROTH they were swimming in...absolutely addictive!!! short of mainlining it, I not so subtlely moved the bowl close enough so I could reach the ladle without be interrupted by my dining companions- that bowl was mine... we slowly but deliberately demolished everything so no left overs. Jazz suggested dessert and tho' initially hesitant it didn't take much persuasion...don't remember what we actually requested, but the result was a sampler of fried bananas, fresh coconut ice cream with a sprinkle of mung beans and yellow chick peas with the fresh ice cream cloaking palm seeds, and mango with sticky rice...much of it on the house thanks to Jazz not wanting us to be denied. Her enthusiam is absolutely infectious, she started reciting other things she thought we would like...I told her next time we'll let her pick our menu. She mentioned a number of times how thankful she is to those who have been spreading the word about the restaurant, and was genuine in her sincerity. Hospitality rating- 5 stars!

                                          A few rounds of Thai coffee (again, thank you Jazz)...we arrived at 6:30, rolled out just before 10...excellent food, great hospitality, all fabulous. Kudos to her niece who was our friendly and attentive server. We can't wait to return and move into some of the spicier selections as well.

                                          17 Replies
                                            1. re: Local

                                              We are going tonight, but we're not the group of 20 Jazz mentioned that were going for lunch -- hopefully they'll give us a report. Looking forward to trying lots of dishes with a bigger group this time.

                                              1. re: Chowpatty

                                                excellent...Jazz mentioned some sort of appetizer that had scallops and shrimp, possibly in a spring roll of some sort that i'm already putting on the list for Round 2...sounded marvelous. Enjoy!

                                                1. re: Local

                                                  She may have been referring to haw mok thaleh, or "seafood hor mok" as it appears on the standard menu. If you are not familiar with this item, hor mok is a curry-flavoured "custard" of sorts which traditionally contains some form of seafood and is steamed in a cup-shaped banana leaf wrapper. Very few restaurants in the US do this dish a service; I expect that you are in for a treat.


                                                  1. re: Erik M

                                                    oo-ah...and even if not what Jazz had in mind, it definitely sounds like something we need to try. Thank you Erik.

                                                    1. re: Erik M

                                                      Yes, we had the hor mok last night -- it was amazing, much better than the version I had once at Kruang Tedd. It wasn't in a banana leaf but in a small custard cup, slightly spicy with a strong kaffir lime leaves undertone - wonderful.
                                                      We had quite a feast -- steamed mussels with a piquant green sauce; loved the clams with tea leaves; I didn't think I would like fish balls but that curry had one of the most flavorful sauces; whole bass was a bit dry but fun to pick at all the garlic; soft shell crab curry was different from anything I've had before and quite delicious; the blue crab salad was perfectly spiced, sour and pungent; loved the tangy rice salad -- I'm having it for lunch today.
                                                      Sticky rice and mango, homemade coconut ice cream and fried bananas were all scrumptious although we were completely stuffed.
                                                      What a great meal...

                                                      1. re: Chowpatty

                                                        Yummm...the other night the blue crab salad waltzed by us to the next table as we were polishing off the last tidbits o' bass...when I asked Jazz what I'd seen, I was almost tempted to order some...definitely a case of eyes bigger than stomach. Next time!

                                                        1. re: Chowpatty

                                                          i missed most of this, so how do we get the special stuff here or is there a separate menu (i.e. the northern thai menu at lotus of siam) or what?

                                                          is the Soft Shell Crab in curry sauce, the specials dish to get here? along with Seabass with Garlic, and Blue Crab salad?

                                                          do they have the good dishes at both lunch and dinner?

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            The menu is available for both lunch and dinner, though it all my depend on availability of various ingredients. But the menu is there.

                                                            There is a separate menu for the really distinctly southern staff (it's on the back page; now with translations!) but they also have southern accents on the menu as a whole. In fact, the soft shell crab curry is part of that main menu.

                                                    2. re: Chowpatty

                                                      I organized the group of 20 for lunch. There was a terrible accident today and about half the folks didn't make it after spending a miserable hour or two in traffic.

                                                      We stayed for almost 4 hours at the restaurant eating, talking and listening to Jazz and Tui. They are wonderful hosts and we had a blast.

                                                      I'm planning another get together there for August or September.

                                                      1. re: JiYoungorama

                                                        I was there yesterday as well, after fighting hours of traffic. My wife had a shower in the area so I dropped her off and went to Jitlada. I was there about 2PM and only a couple of tables were occupied. Your group must have left by the time I got there; it would be impossible to miss a large group in there!!

                                                        Being by myself I could only order a couple of dishes, most of which I brought home (lunch today!!!).

                                                        I had a Southern Thai curry, from the back page, I think it was Lauang (sp?) with chicken and a mint pork. Both were very good, the curry being nice and hot (as I requested), the curry having a different flavor but I actually liked it. The pork was the ground kind, with very nice spicey flavors just not as hot as I wanted.

                                                        The service was quite attentive, with the only problems being I ordered diet coke (which came with the traditional shaved ice) but it was off color, fizzless and tastless. When she brought the first dish I mentioned the drink and she promptly replaced it with another glass of shaved ice and a can of diet coke (much much better).

                                                        The only other problem was that I ordered brown rice, and they brought white. It took quite a while for the brown rice to arrive, both of my dishes sitting on the talbe (cooling) while I waited.

                                                        All in all I liked this place and when in the area again I will try some other dishes.

                                                        1. re: LesThePress

                                                          We were there from noon till about four in the back room. There were only eight of us, because of the accident. I received emails from the people who couldn't make it because of the traffic, apparently it was really bad even by LA standards. So I'm scheduling another meal for a large group there next month or in September.

                                                          Jazz told us she'd love to do a cooking demo or class there.

                                                          If any chowhounders are interested that would be great, but I don't know how to arrange that through CH, what the rules are and such...

                                                          1. re: JiYoungorama

                                                            Ahhhh, I didn't know about a 'back room'!!! Yes, the traffic was horrendeous! Sorry I missed you!

                                                            I'm certainly interested in attending a Thai cooking class. Hopefully you can post the information here!

                                                            1. re: LesThePress

                                                              I added my email address to my profile. And I joined SCARF (approval pending).

                                                              Jazz was really into the idea of teaching a class when she has more time. Actually she brought it up, I might have to help a little bit with the organization and give her some tips on how classes or demos are structured.

                                                              I fell in love with Tui and Jazz (everyone in our group did) and would love to help them out anyway I can.

                                                              1. re: JiYoungorama

                                                                Good people definitely invested in keeping us patrons well-fed happy campers. I'd love to see how they do that soft shelled crab, not to mention the inside info. on where they get all their ingredients. thanks for email address. L.

                                                            2. re: JiYoungorama

                                                              If you can add an email address to your CHOW profile, we can contact you there off the board. also if you're a SCARF (Yahoo group) member you could post something there. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCARF-S...
                                                              joining is easy when you get to the site...

                                                              Would love to join chow folks for another round since we didn't have enough spicy stuff to satisfy me last time... and a cooking demo or class would be excellent.

                                                              1. re: Local

                                                                Thanks! Did not know about SCARF.

                                                    3. As always, Erik, thanks so much for your contributions. Jitlada has been off my radar for a long time -- I didn't have any idea that it had changed ownership. I'm eager to go now -- I've never eaten many of these dishes and can't wait to try.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I ate here last night based on all the mentions on this board. Also I'm leaving LA for Boston next week and doing a farewell food tour (but that's another post).

                                                        My gosh this is a terrific restaurant. It's deserving of EVERY bit of praise it's receiving right now. Hype, especially internet hype, sometimes makes the actual experience a bit anti-climactic. I'll say that Jitlada fully lives up to all those expectations.

                                                        I had the green curry with the duck yolk stuffed fish balls. The southern soft-shell crab curry (I know, two curries but I couldn't choose just one), morning glories with chilies, and the dish I always order at every thai place, thai omelette with minced pork. (kai jieaw moo sap)

                                                        the staff was so friendly. They didn't think I was Thai (because I'm tall). I will definitely go back before I leave.

                                                        Thanks for the recommendation!

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: ysb

                                                          excellent! ... and what are the morning glories like? stem? flowering parts? do tell !

                                                          1. re: Local

                                                            the dish is called "pak boong fai dang" it's pretty popular, and I've heard the translation be "water morning glories" and also "siamese watercress". Sorry that I don't know for sure. anyways, the stems and leaves are stir-fried with fermented soybeans and chilies, which makes it pretty salty and somewhat spicy. must be eaten with rice, IMO.

                                                            picture courtesy of google image search

                                                            1. re: ysb

                                                              thanks-looks and sounds like something worth trying!

                                                              1. re: Local

                                                                It is yummy - great way to balance a Thai meal and eat a bit more Thai-style.

                                                        2. I went last week with my hubby. We have been going there regularly for the past 7 years. Our favorite meal there is: tom kha gai--perfect balance of creamyness and spice with meaty mushrooms and plenty of chicken; steamed mussels--broth is so delicious that you can eat it spooned on top of rice, enveloping plump, meaty mussels; catfish "wok style"--crunchy catfish in a spicy red curry sauce; and Chinese broccoli with salted fish--crispy veggies with a rich mouth feel from the salted fish. This is our all-time favorite meal. You feel so good afterward--not weighed down at all. No Thai restaurant comes close to this one.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: sibaik

                                                            Very nice! I gotta check this place out. Any rec's for drinks/desserts? or should I stick to the basics to have enough room in my stomach...

                                                            1. re: snooze button

                                                              Do not skip dessert! The fried bananas with homemake coconut ice cream and the sticky rice and mango are a must, as is any other sort of custard they have around that day.
                                                              As for drinks, it's just Thai beer, which is perfectly good with the food, and a very small wine list -- bring your own if you're into wine. Don't fill up on any silly stuff like Thai iced tea.

                                                              1. re: Chowpatty

                                                                I just got back from dinner at Jitlada with 3 friends. We had the salmon roll (crunchy deliciousness with several flavors playing on my taste buds... mmm... a big hit), the mussels (even a bigger hit... we wanted to order another plate but somehow resisted the temptation), the fish ball curry--#1 (pretty good), the beef curry--#20 (smooth spiciness), spicy fried rice with chicken (BLAND... not at all spicy, but still edible), a side of white rice which we devoured, and the mango sticky rice... which finished the meal off perfectly. I wanted to order the ice cream, but I had inhaled too much food. The Thai beer... I forget the name, went well with the food. I only tasted it so as to not fill up on that... I stuck to water. We were happy campers so thank you for this rec... we had a great time there tonight!

                                                                1. re: snooze button

                                                                  oh, and I took home the leftovers, which included some beef, the "spicy" fried rice, and most importantly.... the broth where the mussels were swimming in. I'm thinking of making a little something with that tomorrow. Yum.

                                                          2. Just this afternoon Jazz and Tui from Jitlada directed me to the following piece by Jonathan Gold in this week's LAWeekly:


                                                            I want to thank you all for the votes of confidence, and Jazz and Tui would like to thank you all for the tremondous response and continued support.


                                                            5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Local

                                                                thanks, chicagohound for turning us all on to this jewel of a restaurant. hadn't eaten there in years and it's better than ever under the Tui's ownership.

                                                              2. re: Erik M

                                                                Oh, Sh*t! Don't tell me. Goddamn. Pardon my French, but I haven't been to Jitlada yet. Heard about it here a couple weeks ago, and have been anxious to go. Wanted to go last Saturday, but I wanted to visit the Wat Thai temple on it's last weekend of the food court, understandably. Was planning to go this coming Saturday. But now, in addition to growing internet-inspired crowds, Jonathan "Pulitzer Prize" Gold has anointed this place in this week's column? "Jitlada, clearly, is the most exciting new Thai restaurant of the year." I'm still going Saturday, but is there going to be a line out the door? And, worst of all, will success spoil Jitlada? Let's hope not.

                                                                I feel more and more that we here in the Southland are in the midst of a genuine renaissance in Thai cuisine, one that will resonate across the country in many ways in the next few years. And I'm loving every minute of it!

                                                                1. re: Andrew Gore

                                                                  > will success spoil Jitlada?

                                                                  Hard to say. Better go and eat there a bunch of times right now.

                                                                  We went last night and it's by far the best Thai (esp. southern-style thin curries) that we have encountered since returning from Thailand in 2002. Frankly it's better than 99% of the things we ate there, too. And I'll eat *ANYTHING* once.

                                                                  Jazz sure does talk a lot. But who cares, she and Tui back it up with their skills.

                                                                  It is *SO GOOD*. Every dish was distinct, every dish was flavorful, every dish was an individually memorable encounter. I thought I was jaded, but really, a lot of the Thai places just suck. Jitlada reminded me of what the real thing tastes like.

                                                                  1. re: ttriche

                                                                    What certainly has me intrigued is that its menu offerings are simply far beyond any other Thai place. It's easy to be a jaded foodie if all you see is the same item on different Thai menus, but at Jitlada, it's like a whole new world has opened up.

                                                              3. I ordered for takeout today. Got a few items, ordered one "pet ma "which probably meant the others would be more authentic. The one thing that wowed me I didn't even order, they just misunderstood what I said. It was #2 on the Southern Thai Menu, tay poh. For some reason the lady on the phone thought phuu pen plaa sounded like tay poh, even though when she said it, it sounded exactly what what i said. So you need to be really careful ordering.

                                                                Anyway, tay poh was probably the best Thai dish I've ever had. It reminded me a little of Penang Laksa but even better. Spicy, sour, pungent, fishy and marvelously complex. Much better than anything I ate in Thailand!

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: aventinus

                                                                  If "tay poh" and "phuu pen plaa" sound exactly the same, I'm ordering using numbers.

                                                                  1. re: aventinus

                                                                    so what was the tay poh that you ordered there??????

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      "southern Thai curry with dried mudfish and water spinach"

                                                                      no coconut milk. intensely flavored. i'm not at all sure about the ingredients.

                                                                      1. re: aventinus

                                                                        The kaeng tay poh plaa chawn haeng, i.e., southern Thai curry with dried mudfish and water spinach, *does* have coconut milk in it. Just not much.

                                                                        For those interested, there are pics of this dish in my original piece:


                                                                        At any rate, versions of kaeng tay poh can be found at various Thai restaurants around the US but they almost always involve "enhancing" a commercial red curry paste with sugar and tamarind paste/pulp/puree. As I've noted before, Jitlada sets itself apart by fashioning their Southern Thai curries from scratch.


                                                                        1. re: Erik M

                                                                          You know, my "tay poh" didn't look like the picture on that website at all. I'm sure it didn't have coconut milk. However, it was labeled "tay poh." LOL. Like I said before, it was reminiscent of Penang Laksa (without the noodles). The fish was shredded, not in chunks, and I don't even remember that "water spinach." Instead there were weird pungent beans (reminded me of Malaysian stink beans).

                                                                          1. re: aventinus

                                                                            Then you surely had kaeng paa plaa duk luuk taw, i.e. catfish curry with sator beans.

                                                                            Sator beans, or "stink beans" as you call them, are an acquired taste for sure. I know many Thais who loathe the things.



                                                                  2. Just piling on to add my kudos for Jitlada. I ate lunch there on successive days and dinner another night and sampled about a dozen dishes. After the first meal, I let Jazz and Tui decide what to serve. My friend became obsessed with the rice salad, and insisted on having it for every meal -- there are worse fates!

                                                                    Even if you don't ordinarily do so, I'd urge Chowhounds to ask for Jazz on their first visit. Once she finds out that you want to try Southern specialties, she will become your new best friend.

                                                                    Los Angeles is full of so many wonderful Thai restaurants (as a New Yorker, I'm envious), but Jitlada is special.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                      when i told jazz (she's the sister of the chef right???) about the upcoming review, in the la weekly, she had tears of joy, and yes she'll keep on talking and talking and talking but in a good way.

                                                                      she was surprised once we zeroed in on the dishes on the back menu page.

                                                                    2. Wow, talk about being embarrassingly late to the party. Anyway, I confess that, long after all the many raves about the new ownership and authentic Southern Thai dishes at Jitlada, I finally got around to eating there tonight. To nobody's surprise, I'm sure, I thought the food was fabulous. I can't remember having such an exciting response to Thai food since, many, many years ago, I first discovered Saipin Chutima's artistry when she was cooking at Renu Nakorn in Norwalk, before moving to Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. I arrived at Jitlada around 9:15 p.m., and was surprised to find the restaurant mostly empty. Where is everybody? Given all the buzz, I thought that the place would be much busier. Spread the word, Chowhounds. This place needs and deserves more customers to survive. We can't let this treasure fail.

                                                                      1. BTW, "Jitlada" is actually pronounced, "JIT-luh-DAAH" (with the "DAAH" as in, "DAffy Duck")

                                                                        1. I read about it and came back to Jitlada - a restaurant that I had frequented regularly long ago but had just stopped going as it had gone downhill. Under a new owner, it is now, frankly, one of the best Thai in LA. Yes, things can be hot if served Thai style but they will adjust for ferang and some of the menu items are not "hot" but just spicy or full of fresh herbs and not spicy or hot. So many choices and all so delicious. So if you like Thai food then drop your fork and run..... Try anything and everything on the Southern menu and also on the regular menu. Just ask what they recommend and enjoy - and like me you will come back again and again and everyone at the table will not want to stop eating....

                                                                          1. Had a late lunch yesterday and yes, the food was delicious. We had the rice salad (a little too fishy for me), yellow curry -chicken (didn't realize how hot it would be and would have asked for less heat or would have eaten it later to conserve my tastebuds), tom ka w/chicken (the person who ordered this did not want any heat, usually I eat this with heat, but did truly enjoy the flavors of the coconut milk, galangal, kaffir leaves and lemongrass), soft shell crab (wow, i've been wanting to try soft shell crab other ways than at my sushi place and this was mindblowing, the sauce was so intricately laced with flavor, I'm coming back for this and the fish), deep fried whole fish (not sure of which one they friend up, but it was better than the fried fish that I eat at chinese restaurants, more complex w/seasonings and not a bit fishy), beef jerky (my cousin ordered this with all the heat, i could only handle one small bite, but he really enjoyed it and you could just about see the steam coming off the top of his head) and finally the mango sticky rice. I can't wait to go back, thanks all for the recs.

                                                                            1. Okay. Help. I love food, and so far I've loved all of the Thai food I've tried, but I've had super-Americanized Thai food. This is so embarrasing. I have never had curry. And I am not really into spicy. BUT I live right near Jitlada. I want to go ASAP, I just don't know what to have. Can I have some recs for a newbie? I can't have anything even kind of spicy. Please don't yell at me-- just help!

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Lmo1823

                                                                                Go talk to the lovely lady 'Jazz' who usually runs the front end and discuss it with her. She will put you at ease and figure out some tasty dishes for you! I've only ordered scorching dishes from the Southern Thai Menu so I can't rec specific dishes for you but not all Thais like the hot stuff so talk to Jazz and enjoy!!!

                                                                                1. re: sel

                                                                                  I would definitely recommend the mango salad with shrimp, it wasn't spicy at all, although it's not a curry.
                                                                                  The soft shell crab didn't seem at all spicy either. But yes, Jazz will help you out.

                                                                                2. re: Lmo1823

                                                                                  It's the Southern Thai part of the menu that's super spicy. There are many other items on the "regular" part of the menu that are not spicy or can be ordered less hot.
                                                                                  As Chowpatty said, above, the soft shell crab in the Southern Thai section of the menu isn't really spicy--but beware of the sauce that comes with it!

                                                                                  Just know that "medium" to them is still very very spicy. I can't handle too much spicy and was barely able to eat the medium spice.

                                                                                  1. re: slacker

                                                                                    We did not specify heat when we ordered and the soft shell crab dish had barely any heat at all, but the green curry had more heat than I was expecting and took me awhile to recover before I could taste some of the other dishes. I usually start w/the mild and work my way up to the spiciest so that I can still taste my foods on the way there. :)

                                                                                    1. re: slacker

                                                                                      I dig Southern Thai over northern Thai, which is an entirely different kind of "pet" (spiciness in Thai, that is). At least you can still taste things with Southern Thai; the spiciness of the Northern Thai dishes I've had knock out my taste buds into a coma for a few hours. I thought the Jitlada dry curry would be like that, but I was still able to taste everything else.

                                                                                  2. My favorite at Jitlada used to be the rice salad, but lately they've been really dousing it in fish sauce.

                                                                                    Right now, my favorites are the massamun lamb curry, the soft shell crab, and off the Southern menu, the green curry with fish.

                                                                                    Jazz will do a good job guiding you, but my suggestion would be to put together a menu with the following: a salad, a brothy soup (to help neutralize the heat), a wet curry and a dry curry. You can expand beyond that and add more starch/noodles/rice or more proteins, but I think that's a good composition for a meal.

                                                                                    Mango Salad
                                                                                    Chicken Soup
                                                                                    Either the Massamun Lamb Curry or the Catfish in Green Curry
                                                                                    Either the Soft Shell Crab or the Khua Kling (warning: very spicy)

                                                                                    Again, trust Jazz' input, who is incredibly helpful and loves Chowhounds (and Yelpers and Citysearchers and whatnot) and will be more than happy to help you out, but that would be my suggestion for a nice 5-course meal.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                      Thank you so much everyone! I am going to go and I'll let you know!

                                                                                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                        Yeah, well, as I've said before, unless you are feeding an army, two curries of any sort is one curry too many. A salad? Fine. A soup? Great. ONE curry? Fantastic. But, to round it all out I'd strongly recommend a quick stir-fry or deep-fry, not another curry. Try one of the deep-fried whole fish preps, for example. Something like the fried fish with tumeric would greatly compliment a lamb- or beef-based curry. Or, if you aren't in need of all the protein, ask Jazz for a simple vegetable stir-fry like phak bung fai daeng ("red fire water spinach") or phak kaa-naa plaa khem/muu krawp ("Chinese broccoli with salted fish/crispy pork").

                                                                                        Ah, now I've gone and made myself hungry. Maybe I'll head over there tomorrow noon and have Tui whip me up a plate of phat kra-phrao neua sap raat khao sai khai dao ("minced beef/basil over rice with a fried egg on top"). <smile>


                                                                                      2. Thanks SO much for this post... I've been looking for a new Thai restaurant in Thai Town since I'm getting exhausted with Ruen Pair after going there so much... I am definitely going to check out this place the next time I am in the area! The dishes look amazing!

                                                                                        Everything Open 24 Hours!

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: kushnerom

                                                                                          Try it. You love it and Jazz or her brother will listen to what you like and guide you in the right direction. Gem of a restaurant and great people --- but the kitchen needs to keep up with the demand. Long waits now for dinner to arrive....

                                                                                        2. jitlada = overrated thai restaurant

                                                                                          i prefer sapp's or bua or swan or even some of krua's dishes.

                                                                                          they all have dishes that jitlada have but do them better. the finely shredded catfish with the papaya or green apple at bua siam is waaaaayyyyy better than jitlada. that's just one example.

                                                                                          jitlada has a few dishes that you wouldn't find at other places or are more difficult to find. but, that doesn't make up for poor execution of dishes. been here three times. all times was disappointed.