Many years ago, a group of us visited Can Coon for some delicious Thai food. I remember how much food we ate and how the food blew us all away. My friend told me they’ve moved to a new location and when the opportunity cropped up this week — we were returning back from LA — what better place to stop for lunch before heading home.
The restaurant is modern and a lot larger, even though it is still in a somewhat shady strip mall. However, visit during the day and it won’t matter whatsoever.
We are starving and there were so many things I wanted to eat. We start with Sai Eua ($7.99) Thai sour sausage made with pork which has been mixed with curry paste, lemongrass and galangal. Lettuce, cilantro and ginger are meant as condiments for the sausage, but I only like the first two. I love ginger, just not with the sausage. Eat it rolled up in the lettuce, or accompanied with steamed rice.
Nue Dad Deaw ($7.99) is Issan style beef jerky, and I like it so much better than the regular Thai jerky I’ve eaten. It is moist on the inside and crispy on the outside with a coating I am not able to decipher — sticky rice perhaps? The spicy sauce which accompanies is absolutely delicious and so flavorful we ask for more. I like taking a piece of meat and eating it with a ball of sticky rice doused in the sauce.
I love crispy rice and the one at Vientiane in Westminster is really good. Nam Kao Tod ($7.99) is different, with ground pork, green onions, fresh chile, ginger, peanuts, tossed in a lime juice dressing, then topped with crispy rice. This dish is truly addicting! There is great textural contrast with every bite, as well as various flavor profiles.
If you like fish, Plar Sarm Rod ($8.99) offers perfectly fried fish fillets sitting in a “red sauce” — sauce is more brown than red. I detect tamarind but I don’t remember it to be this sweet. I add some prik nam pla (fish sauce with chopped chiles) to tame the sweetness.
The only dish which disappointed was Larb ($7.99). We opted for chicken, but you can also order it with pork or beef. Ground meat with chopped onions, green chile, lime juice is served with lettuce. I always order this at other restaurants and here, it is under-seasoned and needed a lot more flavor than what was placed in front of us.
The food is still good, although portions have shrunk. When I want Issan cuisine (northern Thai), this will definitely be one of my top choices. It is a little far but I’ll drive for tasty food.