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Any decent Thai restaurants in the SGV?

I'm too tired and lazy to drive to Thai Town or North Hollywood. If you could give me suggestions in the Pasadena, South Pasadena or Alhambra area, I'd love you even more.

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  1. I'll weigh in on a few choices... I really don't recommend Green Papaya on Valley (between Atlantic and Freemont), Thai Purple (Garfield) or the Thai restaurant in the Mervyn's shopping center at Garfield and Main.

    I do enjoy Saladang, and Saladang Song, altho I think their authenticity isi sometimes questioned on this board.

    Definitely check out Chandra on Arroyo. It was ok for me, by some people swear by that place.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kotatsu

      i agree with you on Green Papaya...we gave it 2 tries and did not like it at all.

      1. re: dailygluttony

        I've had good Thai at Green Papaya. I think the trick there is to specify that you do not want your dishes done "farang" (foreigner) style. I always specify this and have been very happy with my meals there.

    2. I recommend Thai Purple on Garfield or Lublae in Rosemead. I haven't had good luck at the Thai restaurant in the Mervyn's shopping mall at Garfield and Main. Here are some of the Thai places I've visited in the SGV: http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv/th...

      1 Reply
      1. re: raytamsgv

        Thanks for posting the link to your reviews. I've been trying to find a decent Thai place in the NELA/Pasdena area for years to no avail - I'm definitely *not* a fan of the two-sweet flavors of the Saladangs. This gives me some new ones to check out, and the promise of something spicy :)

      2. Decent Thai in SGV?

        In a word, no.

        1. Green Papaya used to be fantastic when they first opened up (IMHO). I found out from the manager that their 3 chefs were flown in, directly from Thailand! That time and the subsequent 3 times I went, there were always a lot of Thai locals eating there and I had good food.

          The last 3 times I've been, however (the last time being about 7-9 months ago), the food was ~so-so. But, far better than Saladang (which is really watered-down / too-sweet / Americanized). (BTW, I used to be a huge fan of Saladang when they first opened up years ago (and even then, they were simplified), but nowadays I find the quality of their food has gotten worse and worse over the years.)

          I'll probably try Green Papaya one more time soon, just to confirm if it's worth going back again or not.

          1. We *DO* like Saladang Song, though it's 'way loud inside and a tad expensive. The corn fritter things are like crack. President Thai on Rosemead is an old favorite that I do not think was improved by its fancy new building, though we've never had anything there we didn't like, and it's a good deal cheaper than the Saladangs

            12 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              Come on now folks......lets hear it for Saladang and Saladang Song in Pas...if your looking for Thai....how much better can it get? Be fair.......... :-)

              1. re: thomtompkins

                Both Saladang and Saladang Song are terrible.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Saladang Song is very comfortable and the food is as fresh and innovative as any Thai i LA. I live down the street and go there all the time and I have never had a bad dish. I am sorry that you have Ips. Really a shame.

                  1. re: thomtompkins

                    I have to agree with Will Owen -- for Pasadena, Pres Thai and the Saladangs are fine, with P-Thai being superior to Saladangs, in my opinion. I repeat, for Pasadena. Compared to the greater LA Area, both of these places are unremarkable. I think the claim that "the food is as fresh and innovative as any Thai in LA" is rather bold, however, given the Thai communities in both SFV and Hollywood and the concentration of restaurants in those areas. The Thai restaurants in Pasadena definitely cater more towards Western tastes, and if its good for business, well, that's no surprise.

                    1. re: Skorgirl

                      Skorgirl is sort of right. There probably are better Thai restaurants in SFV, but....a very big but, there are more thai restaurants undiscovered in the eastern portion of the San Gabriel Valley in Rowland Heights, Walnut, although this area is really more a hotbed for Chinese particularly authentic Taiwanese and Hong Kong cuisine as well as more modern fusion pan asian cuisines--in fact the SGV is the Chinese capital of North America(san francisco chinatown pales in comparison, so does New york, been to both, can't beat Monterey Park, Alhambra, Rowland Heights, Arcadia, etc. in variety, authenticity, or size of selection--too many cities in SGV to name)

                      1. re: b0ardkn0t

                        "in fact the SGV is the Chinese capital of North America"

                        I think that's wrong. The SGV is probably the Chinese food capital of the Western Hemisphere, not just North America.

                        Honestly, name a place outside of North America that can come close to both the depth and variety offered by both the western (Monterey Park, Alhambra) and eastern (Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, City of Industry) parts of the SGV.

                        Toronto? Vancouver? San Paulo? None even come close.

                    2. re: thomtompkins

                      Oh, and what is "lps"? Is this chowhound lingo everyone knows but me?

                        1. re: monkuboy

                          Let me back up. Ips is not secret lingo. Ips is the first three letters of the name of the person who said the Saladangs are "terrible". I still cant get my head around that..... Maybe I am confusing "authentic" with just good food. I confess I am not an Asian food specialist and that I havent been to every Thai restaurant in the SGV and I dont want to come off as a Saladang friek but...when I order a plate of food there, what shows up is usually delicious and I think definately worth the money. It would be hard to make at home for the same amount....anyone shopped at Whole Foods lately?
                          The rooms are cool, the service is efficient and I've never had a truely bad dish there. I did take a Cambodian friend of mine there recently and she was less than thrilled. To her, it just wasnt "spiced right" and it wasnt "hot enough". I tasted her dish and to me it couldnt have been any more delicious. So theres the disconnect. I am confusing tastes good with cheaper and authentic. Trust me if these other places could charge more for their food they WOULD. I guess I have to go back to Pres Thai and Hollywood more often to get real deal and stop fooling with the Americanized version of the same delicous food. I'm off my soap box now..........sorry.

                          1. re: thomtompkins

                            As a non-fan of the Saladangs, here's the issue I have: nearly every dish I've had there has been covered in the same sticky, sweet sauce (clear stuff with chile flakes in it) even when the menu makes it sound like the dish is spicy.

                            I can't vouch for authenticity, as I've never been to Thailand, but I do know that in Thai Town I can get spicy dishes, and in the SGV the sticky sweet sauce seems to be the norm - I pretty much agree with your Cambodian friend re: Saladang, and had a similar experience at PresidenTwo (haven't actually been to the Rosemead Bl one, and will give it a chance soon).

                        2. re: Skorgirl

                          it's an attempt to shorten ipsedixit, though the more appropriate way would be ipse since that's the actual latin word.

                          i've been making repeated visits to both sgv and thai town, and I have to say it's far easier than you think.

                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                            Oooohhhhh. He meant, "I'm sorry that you have, Ips." Without the comma I thought he was referring to an acronym for some sort of condition called L.P.S. .... :) Thanks for clearing it up, seems rather obvious now!!!

                2. For the area I think President Thai and Chandra are the two best.

                  1. I've had good Thai food at Thai Paradise
                    909 W Las Tunas Dr San Gabriel, CA 91776

                    1. My wife and I enjoy Green Papaya quite a lot. Saladang Song is worth going to a few times to try their unique take on Thai food, but if you want something authentic, I don't think you can do better in the SGV than GP.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Terahertz

                        I've been to most of the Pasadena Thai places mentioned above over the last years, and most all of them seem more and more "americanized", if that is the right word. I think that the people that [still] like Saladang don't really know what the rest of us are looking for, even if they enjoy what they are having, that is not what we're looking for.

                        Some of the places don't even use fresh galanga, lemon grass, kefir leaves, Thai chilis,and more and more I see those horrid frozen pre-skewered super-flattened chicken breast satays with that even coating of marinade, served with that typical sweet bland cheap peanut sauce. Overly greasy and bland pad thai with no small pile of ground peanuts, no nice heaping of fresh sprouts, and none of the appropriate flavors, and even lacking fresh lime . . . (one place gave me a little cup of that reconstituted lemon juice out of the refrig argh).

                        Even I can add a thai curry paste or tom yum or tom kar product from a good Thai market to some coconut milk and come up with something at least as good, just by adding some of my own fresh ingredients! It's getting harder to find other curries than those really oversweet bland sauces, and the stirfries are getting blander with less chilis and zing too.

                        However, to give a different perspective I went to a Thai place in Stockholm on a trip recently, the owner was very friendly to us, so we got to chat a lot. He was 58 and had lived there 40 years, and he said he couldn't serve authentic thai to the Swedes. He made us 3 special dishes that were really really hot and really flavorful, and said no one there would request it or enjoy it like that, and that we didn't even order dishes he served often. The wonderful food reminded me a lot of going to Thai Nakorn in Stanton back when I lived in Orange County in the 80s and 90s. But he did say the Swedes wanted more of a sweet bland gravy and a lot of prawns :-) So maybe it's us too not them haha. I've been in many situations in Thai restaurants where I've overheard someone complaining that the food they've been given is just too spicy and they can't eat it, which is a pet peeve of mine. So maybe it's a matter of supply and demand, since so many people love Saladong and President. I have not been to GP, I will try it, and I need to go back to Thai Town again, my next door neighbor is Thai, and she says that is the place to go.

                        Just my two cents. Or three.