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Culinary review of Thailand, Cambodia, Tokyo

anothernotch | Jan 16, 200803:20 PM     11

My wife and I just returned from our vacation in Thailand, Cambodia, and Tokyo. The culinary highlights are as follows, in no particular order (except for La Rochelle):

1) La Rochelle (Tokyo): we had a magical evening all around. The service was spot on, the restaurant is beautiful, the view was spectacular, the food outstanding (we selected the Sakai tasting menu), and to boot, the Iron Chef stopped by the table to see how we were enjoying ourselves. While the meal was not inexpensive it was one of the best, if not the best dining experiences our lives. The highlights of the tasting menu were the wagyu beef entree with a red wine reduction and a crepe filled with foie gras and wild mushrooms in a truffle and madaras wine reduction (almost orgasmic).

2) Sushi Dai (Tokyo) while the wait to get inside the small restaurant was rather cold, considering we had just arrived from the Thai beaches and didn't pack properly once inside the quality of the sushi made up for the bone chilling cold. After the breakfast, we quickly concluded that the stuff we regularly eat in Los Angeles is double A as compared with the major league sushi found in Japan.

3) Mom Tri's Boathouse (Kata Beach, Phuket), an appealing restaurant on the waterfront. The phuket lobster was particularly tasty.

4) Somboom (Bangkok), believe the crab curry hype. It's as advertised. The fried morning glory w/garlic was outstanding as was the Tom Yum soup. In fact, the soup was the best we've ever had. Perfect blend of the sour lemon grass and the heat from the Thai chilies. We enjoyed it so much that we went back a second time before leaving for the airport. We also had a fried grouper that reminded me of a catfish dish we order at Wolfgang Puck's Chinois, although next time I think I would order it with the fried basil instead of the three-flavor sauce. Nonetheless, the fish was quite tasty and cooked perfectly.

5) LEK Seafood (Bangkok), thanks Curt good rec. While we didn't do dinner here, we did have a really nice lunch. The highlight was a catfish dish that was very similar to a larb. We cant remember what it's called but worth searching for on the menu (perhaps a spicy catfish salad?). Every thing we ate here was really tasty and inexpensive to boot.

6) Cook Rai (Ko Lanta). Quite simply the best masaman curry we have ever had. It was incredibly delicate and flavored with a hint of kafir lime leaf. Perfect heat balance as well. Every thing we had here was outstanding. The service was of great help with menu selection as well.

7) The street vendors (all over Thailand) we were surprised by the quality of food served by the street vendors at all of our stops (Phuket, Pi Pi, Krabi, and Ko Lanta). For next to nothing we ate some great papaya salads, really tasty noodle and Tom Yom soups and really quality curries.

While we read mixed things about the cuisine in Siem Reap we had some enjoyable meals from street vendors and we thought that the food at the Khmer Kitchen was, all things considered, a good value. With this said, stay away from the Khmer style Larb, too much or not enough of something.

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