Friday, May 22, 2009
Sanamluang Cafe, North Hollywood
Sanamluang is a great place to go for comfort food on nights you don't feel like cooking, getting dressed up to eat out, and want to make your wallet happy. I was first introduce to Sanamluang by some friends as a great after drinks spot. It is definitely a fun place to go at 2 a.m., but I usually like to go for an early or late dinner to miss the crowd. In my opinion, Sanamluang serves comfort Thai food. Nothing fancy, just good solid comfort food.
Every table is armed with four jars of sauces.
My favorites are the Thai green and red chilies in fish sauce and Serrano chilies in vinegar.
Fried Shrimp Cakes
These huge shrimp cakes are made up of ground shrimp, crab and pork. Fried and served with a sweet and sour sauce that have a hint of spiciness from the red peppers. The shrimp cakes are dense, similar to crab cakes served at dim sum. Not too oily, and just the right amount of seasoning and cooked to a nice golden crust. I like the texture and flavor of these shrimp cakes and they are even more enjoyable with a little bit of sauce.
Indian Curry Noodle Soup
The noodle soups at Sanamluang are huge and the Indian style curry noodle soup is no exception. A generous amount of flat noodles are served in a coconut milk and curry broth topped with beef, bean sprouts, peanuts and a boiled egg. The broth is very light but flavorful and the beef melts in your mouth. I prefer the noodle soup with flat rice noodles, but you can ask for any type of noodles you'd like. It's also great with an order of tendon, which is $2.
The flat rice noodles were sauteed with scrambled eggs, chicken, shrimp and squid served in a sweet and savory sauce. I had to mix everything with the sauce to get all the flavors. The chicken was overcooked, but the squid was tender. I am not a fan of the sauce in this dish and the flavors were too bland for my taste. I will not order this dish again.
Hawaiian Fried Rice
I had been contemplating this dish for quite some time, and finally ordered it on my last visit and I have no regrets. The rice is fried with Chinese sausage, shrimp, cashew nuts, pineapple, and topped with shredded dried pork. There are also lime wedges on the plate, which can be easy to miss, but the lime juice is the key to this dish. The shrimps are fairly large and the pineapples are fresh. The cashew nuts were a bit soggy and not as enjoyable. There is always something different in every bite, but every bite is packed with good flavors.
Sen Yai Neau Sub
This is my favorite dish to order at Sanamluang. This dish is served with flat rice noodles in a beef gravy with tomatoes, onions and a raw egg on top. The key to this dish is adding Serrano chilies in vinegar, which brightens the dish. I enjoyed the dish by mixing everything together including the raw egg and eating it with a spoon to get as much of the gravy as possible. The beef gravy is delicious and onions add a nice crunch to the dish.
Sanamluang has good food, fast service, and good prices. Don't come here and expect to be wowed, the food isn't amazing nor mind blowing, but it's comforting. You can also customize a dish anyway you want to. There are hundreds of items on the menu, and can be difficult to decide. I've ordered some dishes I don't enjoy, and ones that I would order again and again. There is also a section of the menu that is only available after 10 p.m. Sen Yai Neau Sub is a good introduction if you don't mind the raw egg.
12980 Sherman Way
North Hollywood, CA 91605
There is plenty of parking in the lot as well as on the street.