There is now a second place in Norwalk to get your northern Thai (Issan)/Lao food fix, reports ScottE: Thai Issan. Lao-style chicken larb and Lao sausage are both good eating. The other Issan restaurant, of course, is the venerable Renu Nakorn.

Fresh from a visit to Lotus of Siam in Vegas (deemed by Jonathan Gold the best Thai restaurant in America), Mealcentric decided to check out its competition in these parts with back-to-back lunches at Thai Nakorn. Renu Nakorn is Lotus’s sister restaurant, but a lot of hounds prefer Thai Nakorn.

Overall, says Mealcentric, the food is a helluva lot tastier at Thai Nakorn, and the portions are about twice the size as Lotus’s. Make sure to get the crispy catfish and green papaya salad. The crunchy fish bits stand up great to the spicy sauce they swim in, along with whole roasted peanuts and shreds of papaya. Their regular green papaya salad pales in comparison. Nam sod with crispy rice is like a version of larb–ground meat “salad.” This one uses ground pork, and has less spice than the usual larb and more tang from lime juice and tons of shredded ginger. Crispy rice mixes up the texture. BBQ chicken is good enough, flavorful and juicy, to skip the sweet chile dipping sauce. BBQ beef, on the other hand, could use that delicious sauce–it’s pretty dry. Mango with sticky rice is perfect. Main drawback: service is reliably unreliable. “Be forewarned, plan to order all your food at once since there is a good chance you may never see your waitress again until the check comes.”

Although North Hollywood’s Sri Siam has changed owners, the chef is the same. sel assures us, and so is the food (always good). If you ask for the spiciness, they’ll bring it–all the way. Go for crab rangoon appetizer, catfish or duck curry, catfish larb, pad kee mao, Thai spaghetti or grilled beef salad. For dessert, the coconut ice cream on sweet sticky rice with toasted peanuts and jelly is a great alternative to mango with sticky rice.

Krua Thai is another touted Thai restaurant here, but sel says it’s hard to get seriously spicy food. Still, the 4-flavor fish, pad thai Krua Thai, pad kee mao and coconut smoothies are seriously good.

Thai Issan [Inland of LA]
14419 Pioneer Blvd., Rosecrans, Norwalk

Renu Nakorn Restaurant [Inland of LA]
13041 Rosecrans Ave., Shoemaker Ave., Norwalk

Thai Nakorn Restaurant [Little Saigon]
12532 Garden Grove Blvd, Palm, Garden Grove

Sri Siam Cafe [East San Fernando Valley]
12843 Vanowen St, Coldwater Canyon, North Hollywood

Krua Thai Restaurant [East San Fernando Valley]
13130 Sherman Way, Ethel, North Hollywood

Krua Thai Cuisine [Inland of LA]
935 S. Glendora Ave., West Covina

Board Links: New Issan Thai/Lao place
Back to back lunches at Thai Nokorn—long
Yummy NoHo Thai restaurants

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