I ventured to L.A. and environs this weekend to visit a friend. He had suggested a Thai place in North Hollywood that he had heard about but never tried. When he mentioned that it was called "Sanam...something", I immediately said, "oh Sanamluang. I heard about that place on Chowhound." But for the life of me, I couldn't remember whether Chowhounds gave it a positive or negative review. But we went anyway. It was near two o'clock and our group of three was starving.
First of all, the parking was horrible. The restaurant shares a tiny lot with, I think, five other businesses, one of which was a Thai grocery store. Cars were double parked, end to end, the driveway was completely blocked by cars entering, and no one leaving. A nightmare. We decided to park at the KMart across the street. Once we found a seat at the restaurant, we saw a sign that said "Do not park at Kmart. Your car will be tow (sic)."
"Great," I thought. I guess if we get towed, this will be a very expensive meal. I thought about moving the car elsewhere, but being a stranger in strange land, I wouldn't know where. So we decided to chance it, and stayed.
The interior of the restaurant was sort of like a retro Fifties diner complete with neon, meshed with a post-modern metal-themed nightclub. Quite weird actually.
The food came out scarcely five minutes after we ordered. The FRIED SOY BEAN TOFU
appetizer, was what you'd expect from fried tofu. It was piping hot, with a saucer of sweet and sour sauce topped with ground peanut. Nothing special, but still good. The TOM YUNG GOONG soup, which consisted of shrimp and mushrooms with lemon grass, and lime juice was good, but would've been better had we ordered it mild, instead of "no spice". The shrimp were perfectly cooked, still quivering and sweet. The soup itself was not as complex as the one I have had at Thai Nakorn back in O.C. (but we attributed this to the way we ordered it). The HAWAIIAN FRIED RICE which is fried rice with Chinese sausage, chicken, shrimp, cashew nuts, pineapple and shredded dried pork, was my favorite. I liked the contrasting flavors and textures that the cashews and Chinese sausage brought to the dish. The RAHD BAH YEN-TA-FO, flat rice noodles with squid, shrimp, jelly fish, fish ball, fish cake and special gravy sauce, had a dramatic pink gravy, which scared us at first. But the taste of the dish was rather mild and conservative, with the flavor coming from the seafood, as the gravy was almost absent of real flavor. I liked it though, especially the crunchy jellyfish.
We had two THAI ICED TEAS and a DIET COKE. Total for the meal, including tip was $33.00 ($11.00) per person. So, all in all, we were happy. Not the best Thai food we've ever had (Thai Nakorn still remains unbeaten), but it satisfied us quite nicely.
Time spent at the restaurant? 20 minutes. And my car was still there when we got back to KMart.