Wat Thai

Posted by Brandon |

This weekend will live forever in my mind as my great Ikea and Thai food adventure. On Saturday Death? and I went to Ikea in Burbank to purchase four dining room chairs to replace the folding chair and Archie McPhee footstool we have been using. We had a nice time doing some shopping and ate some really damn good Thai food, including the best drunken noodles (my new favorite Thai dish) at Chadaka Thai in downtown Burbank. Unfortunately we accidentally got one chair in the wrong color so today I had to drive the sixty miles to Burbank again to make the exchange.

Driving sixty miles to Ikea and coming straight home didn't sound like my idea of a great Sunday so despite having ate Thai for dinner last night I decided to try this incredible sounding place I read about in LA Weekly's 99 Essential Restaurants list. So I drove into the vast wasteland that is the upper reaches of North Hollywood and found a shimmering beacon of Buddhism in an otherwise dismal setting. Wat Thai is gorgeous, the only Thai Buddhist temple in the United States built according to Thai architecture.

Every Saturday and Sunday the courtyard beside the temple is transformed into an amazing food court serving up homemade authentic Thai dishes that you can't even get at most top notch Thai places (even Chadaka Thai) let alone the cookie cutter ones sprouting up like weeds in every strip mall in America.

You purchase tokens from a central booth and then browse your way through looking at all of the incredible options (it's hard to get very far because at each booth you want to stop and buy something). If you can finally decide on what to have you pay with the tokens and find yourself a seat in the courtyard at one of the many communal picnic tables. I sat with a really nice Thai family who kept urging me to move over into the shade despite the fact that I would be crowding them. They were so worried about me and that sun.

After walking around for a while I decided on one booth mainly because of their fish cake dish (above on the top). It was delicious even though it sounds kind of gross. The fish cake is more of a pureed fish pudding like substance with spices and mint leaves served in a banana leaf bowl. I also got mint leaf chicken served over rice with a fried egg, which was the greatest fried egg I have ever eaten. I don't know what they did, but it was awesome.

After that I was almost totally full, but I kept seeing people with these great looking skewers so I had to hunt them down and I am glad I did. Barbecued pork on the left, Thai sausage in the middle and Thai meatballs on the right served with some kind delicious sauce. They were incredible and worth the harsh rumbling that my stomach was doing by the end.

Of course you can't forget about the Thai deserts. I had to go get some fried bananas which, like just about everything else I ate today, were the best I have ever had. Fried to a golden brown and topped with sesame seeds these huge chunks of banana were to die for. Then I grabbed some coconut, rice milk, and sugar thingies (I can't properly describe them, kind of a pudding candy maybe) that were strangely tasty.

If you happen to be in LA on a Saturday or Sunday you should not miss going to Wat Thai. Not only do you get to see an amazingly beautiful temple but you are treated to one of the greatest feasts in their courtyard. And it is really cheap, I bought two entrees, three appetizers and two huge desserts (ten huge banana chunks for two dollars!) and a drink for $15.50 (I ate way too much). The temple is really easy to find located at 8225 Coldwater Canyon Ave in North Hollywood just a couple of blocks from the 170 Freeway's Roscoe exit.