Monday, July 13, 2015

LOTUS OF SIAM (LAS VEGAS, NV)

Lotus of Siam
953 E. Sahara Ave, Ste A5
Las Vegas, NV 89104
www.saipinchutima.com
Tel: 702.735.3033
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: Thai
Sat, 07/04/2015, 5:30pm reservation
     (5 Piglets)



Chef Jet Tila and Anthony Bourdain: "Don't order Pad Thai. Go to the back of the menu and order Northern Thai specialties."



Thai food, more specifically, delicious, authentic Thai food is almost impossible to find. Being a traveler, I've been seeking something that would be comparable to what I've tasted when I was in Thailand. For me and my friends, we had to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada in order to experience what I believe is to be the best Thai food outside of Thailand...and it's only an hour flight away from LAX.

Saipin Chutima is a James Beard Award recipient offering traditional, authentic Northern Thai recipes that were passed down from generation to generation. It is a step away from the sweet and tangy flavors that so many of us have been exposed to and are familiar with.

A line congregates outside of the restaurant before opening its doors for service. The menu sits like a book, with numerous dishes to choose from. The d├ęcor is simple, casual and a little outdated (but who honestly cares when you're here for the food). Photos of famous people who have visited the restaurant line the walls. And the food...well, it's simply superb. 


The interior

MY FAVORITE DISH. EN TUAN (HOT POT: $13.95): Spicy and sour soup with beef tendon, bean sprouts and beef slices. I seriously dream about this soup day in and day out after I had my first taste. The broth was full of flavor....bold, luxurious with a lot of depth. Hints of garlic can be tasted in the soup that was seasoned well. The tendon was perfectly cooked with the best texture that ever was put forth in soup. I could slurp this forever and never get sick of it! Thank goodness we got a bowl. It was more than enough for a group of four and the fire in the middle definitely kept the soup hot. We asked for a spice level of 5 and could not taste any spiciness unfortunately (maybe we just have a high tolerance). 
LARB WITH PORK ($10.95): Ground pork, chopped onion, green chili, and lime juice served with fresh cabbage. The salad was fresh, with a nice balance of acidity and refreshing. Slightly spicy and nicely seasoned. I enjoyed it but the next time I'm there, I wanna try the Northern larb salad. 

DRUNKEN NOODLE SOFT SHELL CRAB ($22.95): Deep fried soft shell crab with homemade fresh chilis and Thai basil served on top of pan fried flat rice noodle. I loved this dish. The crab was extremely crispy and retained its crispiness throughout the remainder of the meal (although it wasn't long since we scarfed everything down pretty quickly). The noodles were nicely cooked and was a bit spicy. They didn't ask our spice level and I assumed they kept it at a 5, which was the perfect spice for a good kick. 
CRISPY DUCK WITH PANANG ($24.95): Crispy duck topped with Thai style red cream curry sauce with cognag. This was absolutely delicious. The duck was extremely crispy. The panang curry was rich and spicy. It was slightly sweet, yet savory and full of flavor. This was definitely one of my favorite dishes and a must order. 

THUM KA NOON- POUNDED AND SHREDDED YOUNG JACK FRUIT ($10.95): This local dish from the north is unique to the northern part of North Thailand. Made of shredded young jack fruit, ground pork, tomatoes, northern Thai spices and seasoning. This was seriously my second favorite dish. I loved everything about it. It was sweet, a little tangy and a bit sour and spicy. The texture was similar to shredded meat. As full as I was, I couldn't stop eating this dish. 

MANGO WITH SWEET STICKY RICE- SEASONAL ($8.95): Sweet, delicious, good. The mangoes were ripe and the rice was perfect. Enough said. 

Overall, you can't go wrong when ordering at Lotus of Siam. Chutima managed to bring dishes that you normally wouldn't find at your local Thai restaurant. It's a special place when literally everything you order tasted phenomenal. I had a difficult time deciding my favorite dish amongst the amazing dishes. When you dream about the food and can't get it out of your head, then you know you've found a gem. The next time I visit Lotus of Siam, I need to try the Nam Prik Noom (just sayin'). Word of advice: Book a reservation because lines form before the place even opens (as seen in the pic). 




Notable Dishes: En Tuan and Thum Ka Noon

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