Siam Chan is located in a kind of sketchy looking pink hut behind the 20/20 Video at Santa Monica and Colby. It is easily identifiable by the red letters spelling out "Thai Food" across the front of the building and the blazing white Christmas lights.
The restaurant is very small and does a considerable amount of takeout business. It is the true definition of a hole in the wall, but it is clean and the service is friendly.
As newcomers, we walked in off the street, thinking we could get a to-go order in our hands within 10 minutes. We were wrong. About five people who knew better had already called in their orders, and we waited about thirty minutes for our food. Since the restaurant is so small and busy, I didn't think this was unreasonable.
Despite the signage, Siam Chan actually serves both Thai and Chinese food. I got my usual pad Thai and fish cakes. My friend ordered orange chicken.
They sliced off the corners of the Styrofoam containers to keep the crispy dishes from getting soggy, and the trick worked well. The chicken was deep fried in a light, airy batter and covered in a liquidy sauce quite different from the goopy, cornstarchy sauce that most restaurants use. It was orange in color, but not particularly orange in flavor, and there was no trace of orange or orange peel. It also wasn't spicy, though after we ate we discovered the little containers of hot sauce in our bag. In spite of a few shortcomings, the chicken was actually very good. The quality of the meat was excellent--no wierd fat globs or toughness to send me back into the throes of vegetarianism. It's a great dish that I will order again, but it may not be quite what you're expecting when you order orange chicken.
The fish cakes were easy to cut with a fork and all the flavors worked well together. The dipping sauce tasted just like fish cake sauce always does--that's a good thing. I'll order these again too.
The pad Thai alarmed me at first because it was pink, but surprisingly the dish tasted fine. It was loaded with more vegetables than I would have cared for, including snow peas, carrots, black mushrooms, and broccoli. I did order it vegetarian, so that might have increased the vegetable count, and the tofu I expected wasn't there (the restaurant serves a deep fried tofu appetizer, so I know they have it, but you know what they say about assuming things). The dish was also short on crushed peanuts, and the noodles weren't al dente, though they weren't mushy, either. The dish tasted good overall, but it isn't my favorite pad Thai, and I probably won't order it again.
Appetizers are about $5, large soups around $6, and generously sized entrees also around $6--quite a steal for freshly prepared, good quality, flavorful food. And according to the menu, they deliver with only an $8 minimum (you must spend $10 to use your credit card, though). I'll definitely eat here again (or more likely, get takeout).
1611 Colby Ave (at Santa Monica Blvd. behind 20/20 Video)
Los Angeles, CA 90025
M-Th 11:30-10:00, Fri-Sat 11:30-11:00