HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
What are you cooking today? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Good God, Sri Siam Cafe!

r
Rosiepigs Sep 8, 2011 02:02 PM

I just moved back to North Hollywood (sadly) and have been to Sri Siam twice in the past week. Good God this place is amazing! I don't remember trying their more American dishes, but the Thai specialties I've had are amazing. It's one of the few places to get crunchy rice salad in LA, and theirs does not disappoint. Plus, they're really generous with the herbs that go alongside. The grilled beef salad is good and sour and full of rice-powder. But the khao soi! I kept telling myself it wasn't as good as Spicy BBQ, but then gladly shoveled spoonful after spoonful into my mouth. The beef doesn't seem to have been cooked in the soup, and the pickled vegetables aren't as good as Spicy BBQ, but the soup is just delicious. I'd ask for seconds if I could.

Next visit, I'd like to try some seafood options? I'm not big on shellfish, but does anyone have any filet or salmon suggestions?

And if you haven't been to Sri Siam, GO NOW. so good.

-----
Spicy BBQ
5101 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

  1. m
    MarkC Jun 4, 2013 09:28 AM

    Food has never inspired strong emotions in me, but if there was ever a dish that made me want to get up and do a little dance, it was the crispy rice salad at Sri Siam.

    1. n
      ns1 Jun 3, 2013 11:21 PM

      okay I did try this place finally. The fish is indeed 122. The herb sauce is described per the pompano:

      b. Topped with garlic and green chili sauce.

      The slaw/sauce includes ginger, lime, fried shallots, PEANUTS, green chilies, dried shrimp, and garlic (probably a lot of stuff I'm missing). These are roughly chopped and in the style of a slaw. Top on fish, pour fish sauce type sauce on top.

      It was very reminiscent of my youth - fried fish from the market, topped with fish sauce (which includes garilc/ginger). You really needed to mix everything together and eat it with a lot of rice, because this is a massive, intense flavor bomb in each bite. I did not expect to eat so much rice. I would call this dish suitable for moderate palates and beyond - I couldn't bring my n00b coworkers to have this dish, for instance. Waaaaay too much flavor for n00bs.

      Fish was cooked very well, and the everything was quite tasty. 2 thumbs up from both of us, but it didn't quite meet my expectations which I must admit were probably unreasonably high due to this thread.

      We also got an order of pad kee mao which were just flat out terrible. Don't order this. I'm glad I scouted this place before I put my name on it. I'll come back to try some more dishes based on this thread, but first visit was just slightly above average for me.

      In the pictures you'll see 2 pictures of the slaw - I had to go back and get it made again because I didn't realize there was peanuts when I ordered. This is only half the fish btw, the other half is leftover. $19.95 for the MP Trout.

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      2 Replies
      1. re: ns1
        i
        ilysla Jun 4, 2013 07:37 AM

        Thanks for the update!

        Hmmm.... That doesn't look like what I ordered the one time I thought I was having the whole fried fish. I must've ordered the pompano. Whoops.

        Glad you enjoyed the fried trout. Now try the crispy rice salad. ;)

        1. re: ns1
          j
          Jwsel Jun 18, 2013 11:04 PM

          I don't know about the fish not being suitable for a lot of people. My mother is definitely not an adventurous eater by any means and she thought the whole fish dish was one of the best things she ever ate the one time she tried it. So has everyone else I know.

          I also love that Sri Siam packs the fish to go like that -- with the fish separate from the sauce ingredients and the liquid part of the sauce separate from the herbs, chiles and other ingredients. The fish stays crisp that way and the sauce ingredients get mixed together right before serving.

          I'm surprised about the pad kee mao, but definitely try the crispy rice salad and the o-lou.

        2. n
          ns1 Jun 3, 2013 11:22 AM

          OKAY after 2 years I'm finally gonna hit this place up

          what's do I order besides the "Crispy and Tasty Trout $MP"?

          Is this "crispy rice salad" legit?

          12 Replies
          1. re: ns1
            j
            Jwsel Jun 3, 2013 11:56 AM

            Yes, the crispy rice salad is legit. Get it with the pork (they will do it with chicken, but the Thai sour pork is better).

            I don't know the Crispy and Tasty Trout as the name of the item, but I think you are referring to the whole fish with Thai herbs and chilies. It is not on the regular menu. It is usually trout, but it could be a different fish. They also make the same dish with fried soft-shell crab.

            Other items are the O-Lou, which is a pancake made from egg and shrimp. It can be a little greasy, but the shrimp comes in big chunks and the spicier of the two sauces it comes with is phenomenal.

            I also like the Nam Prik Oom, which I mentioned only seeing they had after I went. That is a cold eggplant and chili dip served with fresh vegetables and fried pork rinds for dipping.

            1. re: Jwsel
              n
              ns1 Jun 3, 2013 12:02 PM

              "I don't know the Crispy and Tasty Trout as the name of the item, but I think you are referring to the whole fish with Thai herbs and chilies. It is not on the regular menu. It is usually trout, but it could be a different fish. They also make the same dish with fried soft-shell crab."

              That's the one I'm looking for, and per the menu "Crispy and Tasty Trout $MP" is the closest I can find. This really isn't it?

              122. SRI SIAM CRISPY & TASTY TROUT Market Price
              Fried boneless trout topped with herbs sauce.

              http://www.srisiamcafe1.com/menu.html

              ALSO

              Place looks pretty small. Can they comfortably handle a party of 6-8 for lunch?

              1. re: ns1
                c
                cdub Jun 3, 2013 12:29 PM

                the place is pretty decent size. it's never that crowded in there. i think they'll accomodate pretty easily.

                1. re: ns1
                  i
                  ilysla Jun 3, 2013 02:15 PM

                  Love the crispy rice salad.

                  Is the whole fried fish #53? A poster on another thread said to order "Whole Fish with Garlic, Herbs and Chili."

                  1. re: ilysla
                    n
                    ns1 Jun 3, 2013 02:17 PM

                    that's what I thought at first, but it lists "pompano" and other threads/posts have said trout...

                    1. re: ns1
                      i
                      ilysla Jun 3, 2013 07:50 PM

                      When you go, give us the definitive # for which one it is! =)

                      1. re: ilysla
                        n
                        ns1 Jun 3, 2013 08:32 PM

                        Things I learned today: the sauce (well the herb part of it) has peanuts

                  2. re: ns1
                    j
                    Jwsel Jun 3, 2013 03:26 PM

                    That is probably the dish (#122), with #123 being the soft shell crab version. I think that House Special menu is a new addition to the website. I don't recall it being there before (though the Chef's Special dishes were listed) and it looks like some of the Northern Thai dishes are now included as House Specials that used to be only in Thai on the wall of the restaurant.

                2. re: ns1
                  p
                  prawn Jun 3, 2013 02:04 PM

                  Very legit, and +1 for Jwsel's advise on getting the pork version. One of those dishes that quickly disappears from the table. It's a very easy going, casual place.

                  1. re: prawn
                    Ciao Bob Jun 3, 2013 02:05 PM

                    Ooooohhh Sri Siam is soooo gooood!!!!!!!!

                  2. re: ns1
                    n
                    ns1 Jun 3, 2013 03:32 PM

                    wrapping up my ?'s here - how's the BBQ chicken?

                    1. re: ns1
                      g
                      Galen Jun 3, 2013 09:38 PM

                      The chicken's reheated. It tasted off.

                  3. h
                    Helper Monkey Mar 3, 2012 10:39 PM

                    My go to Thai delivery. The crispy rice salad is amazing, as is the tom kha and the green curry. Unbelievablepy good.

                    1. b
                      BrewNChow Mar 1, 2012 02:46 PM

                      Ordered from there.

                      Got the crispy duck. It's one of the expensive things on the menu, 18 bucks. WORTH IT. It's awesome.

                      crispy rice salad with sausage was very nice, had a sour tang and the mint leaves went nicely with it and gave it a nice twist.

                      Finally I got a very very very weird curry. I was feeling experimental. It was called Kaeng Tai Pla. Server asked me if I knew about this dish, and was sure I liked it. I smelled danger but was too curious, and man, should've gone with the kao soi or another curry. It was very briny, fishy, sour, and mostly filled with bamboo shoots. No real chunks of fish to be found. Not a coconut based curry (which in principle is fine) but man it was a very non-American palate of flavors. Lots of funk in there. Not recommended unless you get off on that kind of thing. I'm a pretty experimental eater but this reminded me of some of those Korean dishes where you're like "whoa, I don't know what you put in that thing but take it away from my mouth and nose please"

                      Overall, very satisfied. They obviously have food that will cater to those looking for more authentic flavors and their execution of the dishes was excellent. How does it compare to the best restaurants in Thai Town? Quite favorably, IMO.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BrewNChow
                        n
                        ns1 Mar 1, 2012 03:59 PM

                        he must've though you were an asian food specialist haha

                        Kaeng tai pla - a thick sour vegetable curry made with turmeric and shrimp paste, often containing roasted fish or fish innards, bamboo shoots and eggplant.

                        yeah I wouldn't have liked that either!

                        1. re: ns1
                          s
                          silverlakebodhisattva Jun 3, 2013 01:51 PM

                          Fermented bamboo shoots + shrimp paste + fish guts =
                          " a very non-American palate of flavors. Lots of funk in there. Not recommended unless you get off on that kind of thing"

                          is a diplomatic understatement.

                          I've seen that combo of aromas/flavors referenced, even by afficianadi, as "to a Western palate, reminiscent of a horse barn".

                      2. s
                        sel Sep 8, 2011 10:27 PM

                        Srisiam Cafe is one of my favorite places to eat. Period! The dishes on the Thai language white board have been excellent. My favorite can be ordered "Whole Fish With Herbs And Chilies - Very Spicy!" Expensive but worth it.

                        -----
                        Sri Siam Cafe
                        12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                        Srisiam Cafe No 2
                        12847 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: sel
                          Servorg Sep 9, 2011 07:54 AM

                          Are there really two Sri Siam's next door to one another (as it appears from the two place link entries here)? The one I found a link for (and put up on the thread) is at (according to their own website) 12843 Vanowen and the one you've linked is at 12847 Vanowen (although no website information is available on the place link).

                          1. re: Servorg
                            mucho gordo Sep 9, 2011 09:16 AM

                            At one time they had 2 stores separated by a 3rd, different shop which, eventually closed. Sri Siam expanded into the closed shop and shut down the other one.

                            1. re: Servorg
                              Peripatetic Sep 9, 2011 03:52 PM

                              Funny, I asked the same question in January:

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7594...

                              mucho gordo set me straight back then, too.

                              1. re: Servorg
                                s
                                sel Sep 10, 2011 08:22 AM

                                There is only one Srisiam Cafe, both came up automatically when I linked.

                                -----
                                Sri Siam Cafe
                                12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                                1. re: sel
                                  Servorg Sep 10, 2011 08:26 AM

                                  It's just that the database has a No. 2 by the same name at a (very) slightly different address that made me go "huh?"...It's all been explained now and I think I'll go in and list No. 2 as a duplicate db entry later.

                              2. re: sel
                                Ciao Bob Sep 9, 2011 09:27 AM

                                That fish is in my Top 10, maybe Top 5 dishes I have ever had. Sri Siam rocks.

                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                  j
                                  Jwsel Sep 9, 2011 06:19 PM

                                  After reading this thread, I had to take the plunge. It stinks that the Thai menu is not translated or on the website, but after reviewing the Sri Siam threads, I ordered the following for take-out:

                                  The whole fish with herbs and chilies. The woman on the phone did not recognize the dish, but put me on the phone with the chef. He was great. This was utterly fantastic. As good as people say. For takeout, they gave me the whole fish -- a trout, with the liquid for the sauce in a container and the herbs and other sauce ingredients wrapped in foil. The chef, Charlie, instructed me to mix the sauce items and then pour it over the fish. It worked perfectly. The fish was still crispy when we ate it and the sauce was absolutely delectable.

                                  Crispy rice salad. I love the one at Lotus of Siam and have been looking for it in LA ever since. This was great, though not as mind-blowing as at LoS. But since I don't feel like driving four hours, I'll be perfectly content to get it there. (I actually suspect it would have been better at the restaurant, because the rice probably did lose a little crispness by the time I got it home.

                                  Pad kaprao -- minced chicken with garlic, chili and basil. This was probably the most pedestrian dish, but it was still very good.

                                  Tom yum soup. Excellent, but I will probably get something I can't get at every other Thai restaurant in the future.

                                  Duck curry. Um . . . it sounds great, but they forgot to include it in my takeout order. But they were extremely nice about it when I called to tell them it was missing. Charlie offered to make it and deliver it to my house, which is well beyond their delivery area and probably would have taken an hour in rush hour. I told him it was unnecessary, but they'll credit me on a future order. Since that may happen in the next few days, I'm sure they will remember.

                                  Charlie and the staff couldn't have been nicer. I wish is that I knew more of the Thai-only menu items. Looking at Jonathan Gold's review, I see that they have nam prik oom, which I will get the next time, but I'm sure there are a lot of things I would love to try. Maybe a 'hound will take mercy on us non-Thai speakers and do what was done at Jitlada.

                                  1. re: Jwsel
                                    n
                                    ns1 Sep 9, 2011 07:14 PM

                                    thanks for taking the plunge, this will be my next thai stop.

                                    by chance do you recall how much the fish was?

                                    1. re: ns1
                                      j
                                      Jwsel Sep 9, 2011 08:02 PM

                                      It was expensive. When I asked over the phone, I think they said it was about $20.

                                      1. re: ns1
                                        s
                                        sel Sep 10, 2011 08:19 AM

                                        Srisiam Cafe varies the price on this dish accordingly depending on the size of the trout. I always ask for a smaller one and it's about $18.

                                        -----
                                        Sri Siam Cafe
                                        12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                                2. WildSwede Sep 8, 2011 10:12 PM

                                  I'm always on the lookout for good northern Thai cuisine. Have been to Spicy BBQ and liked it. Also, Lotus of Siam in Vegas has very, very, VERY good northern Thai cuisine. Thanks, Rosie!!

                                  -----
                                  Spicy BBQ
                                  5101 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                  1. mrgreenbeenz Sep 8, 2011 04:26 PM

                                    I really like their crispy rice salad as well. I tried their catfish curry last week and it was pretty impressive - though the duck curry w/ thai eggplant is my hands down favorite.

                                    I've also had their southern thai curry - a fish gut curry deal - and it was outstanding. Though I think overall they have a focus on Northern Thai. These guys are the real deal. Cheap, delicious and friendly - one of the gems of scenic NoHo.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mrgreenbeenz
                                      n
                                      ns1 Sep 8, 2011 05:05 PM

                                      this it?

                                      12843 Vanowen St
                                      North Hollywood, CA 91605
                                      Neighborhood: North Hollywood
                                      (818) 982-6262
                                      www.srisiamcafe1.com/

                                      Hours:

                                      Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 11 am - 10 pm

                                      1. re: ns1
                                        Servorg Sep 8, 2011 05:07 PM

                                        place link

                                        -----
                                        Sri Siam Cafe
                                        12843 Vanowen St, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                                        1. re: ns1
                                          r
                                          Rosiepigs Sep 8, 2011 05:28 PM

                                          that's it, but they're open Wednesdays too.

                                      Show Hidden Posts