Sunday, August 2, 2015

JITLADA (LOS ANGELES, CA)

Jitlada
5233 1/2 West Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
https://jitladala.wordpress.com/
Tel: 323.667.9809
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: Thai
Fri, 07/24/2015, 6:45pm walk-in
     (4.5 Piglets)





Since the 1970s, Jitlada has been serving Thai food to ravenous Angelenos. The restaurant has changed multiple owners since the '70s and is currently run by Sarintip "Jazz" Singsanong and her brother Suthiporn "Tui" Sungkamee. 

Prior to obtaining Jitlada, Jazz and Tui began working with their other brother John at Emporium Thai in Westwood, CA. Realizing that the diners were not a fan of spice, Jitlada was reinvented and their spicy cuisine was born. 

The restaurant serves the usual standard Thai dishes and their authentic Thai home cooking, which translates to...spicy! Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly once referred to their beef curry dish khua kling Phat Lung as "the spiciest food you can eat in Los Angeles at the moment." Boy....was he right! 

The interior
Gotta wait...cause it's worth it. 
JITLADA'S SPICY SPECIALTY SMOOTHIES ($7.00 FOR TWO FLAVORS): Mango and Banana.  This was a must for me, especially knowing that I was gonna eat some spicy food tonight. I actually asked for non-spicy, but regardless, there was still a little kick (nothing unbearable). It was a good smoothie to coat your tongue from all the spice. I didn't love it, but it was good. I would have rather had a thai iced tea with the cream to help tone down the spice. 
SPICY CRISPY PORK NOODLES ($19.95): Spicy stir fried glass noodles with crispy pork and vegetables. This is a good noodle dish. It had the same flavors as what a pad thai would have, but using the glass noodles gave the dish a bit of a softer texture. It was fragrant and the the crispy pork added some depth to the dish. 

GREEN CURRY ($13.95) + LAMB ($5.00): Coconut based curry with bell peppers Thai eggplant, bamboo, and Thai basil. This curry was one of my favs. The coconut base offered a bit of sweetness, considering that the curry was spicy. The flavors meshed well together and the lamb was not at all gamey or dry. 

MORNING GLORY ($12.95): Stir fried Chinese water crest. This was a simple vegetable done right. It was slightly crispy and slightly salty and sweet from the sauce. It definitely helped eating this if you wanted a break from all the spice. It was good but nothing amazing. 

KRACHAI CRISPY PORK ($18.95): Stir fried crispy pork in a spicy krachai curry. This was probably one of my least favorite dishes, although it is pretty popular amongst diners. It was extremely spicy even though we asked for it to be on the lesser of the spice level. The dish was too salty for my liking and the crispy pork failed to be crispy. I probably wouldn't order this dish again. 
OXTAIL CURRY ($17.95): Tender oxtail in spicy southern curry with jicama and bell peppers. This was probably my favorite curries out of all of them. We ordered it mild and it still had a kick to it. The curry was a yellow curry with great flavor. The oxtail was super tender and came with three pieces. A definite must order. 

MY FAVORITE DISH. CRISPY MORNING GLORY SALAD ($14.95): Deep fried morning glory topped with fresh shrimp and a spicy house dressing.  This was a beautifully presented dish. The morning glory was fried crisp to perfection. The shrimp was fresh and and sweet. The dressing had the perfect amount of acidity to tie the dish together. Overall, it was sweet, tangy, spicy and sour. Full of flavor, I would order this dish again in a heartbeat. 

PHANGNGA JUNGLE CURRY ($15.95): Pork spare ribs with Thai eggplant in a spicy jungle curry. We ordered this with medium spice and boy, was it still spicy. The curry wasn't thick, but more like a rich broth. It was rich in flavor and it was a little salty for my liking. The spare ribs were good. Comprehensively, this was a good curry. 

FRIED BANANA WITH COCONUT ICE CREAM ($7.00): This was my least favorite dessert. The fried banana had great texture and was fried perfectly, but I wasn't a fan of the sauce (which I think was tamarind based). The coconut ice cream wasn't creamy at all and was too icy. I wouldn't order this again. 

MANGO STICKY RICE ($8.00): This was my favorite dessert of the two. The mango was perfectly sweet and ripe. The rice was sticky, rich, with a sweet coconut flavor. Together, it was the perfect combination. It's mango sticky rice done right. 

Overall, Jitlada is Southern Thai food at its best. It is a place not for amateurs in terms of spice level. The ambiance is simple and casual, nothing too fancy. The parking is a little crazy. The food is great and the menu is like a novel book. There are a ton of dishes to choose from and it is really packed with flavor. I would definitely consider this place one of the better Thai restaurants in Los Angeles. Be sure to come prepared for some sweatin' and numbing of your tongue. 


Notable dishes: Crispy Morning Glory Salad, Oxtail Curry and Mango Sticky Rice 

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