Siam Sunset’s $4 Specials Are a Super Sweet Deal

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Ever since visiting Thailand back in 2007 I’ve been on a futile quest to recapture some of the great meals I had there, minus the expensive plane ticket.  Pad thai from a street cart in Bangkok, khao soi from a night market in Chiang Mai, rice noodle soup from a shack in Phitsanluk (oh, how I miss you legs hanging rice noodles.)  So back in July when The Guru called Siam Sunset, a coffee shop looking restaurant connected to an America’s Best Value Inn,  the Thai-est Thai restaurant in Thai-Town I was instantly interested.  He described it as being the cafe you’d find around the corner from your apartment in Bangkok, but the thing that got me most excited by the review was the fact that they have a menu of specials for just $3.95.  That’s right.  4 bucks!

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Even though Siam Sunset is open until 10pm, it’s more geared towards breakfast, and a lot of the $4 menu items reflect that.

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Like the porridge with roast duck, a congee-like dish which as promised was completely bland, but perked up as soon as you added stuff from the wheel o’ condiments on the table.   If you like congee (or cream of wheat) you’ll find this dish warm and soothing, and even though I prefer when chefs create a dish the way they think it should taste, it is actually very Thai to allow people to flavor the food themselves using a host of different toppings that pop up on almost every Thai table.

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Even more suited for breakfast was this tofu with ginger syrup dish, with a side of little crunchy “doughnut” sticks that tasted a lot like those crispy noodle things I used to put in wonton soup as a kid.  One of the least filling of the $4 specials, it reminded me a lot of a common silky tofu dish you find at dim sum- and like dim sum this one is probably best shared.  (I don’t think I could even come close to finishing a whole bowl myself.)

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The opposite side of the $4 specials menu gets a bit more lunch’ish, although everything is still really sweet.  Like this bowl of  “Tom Yum Pork Noodle Soup”, which tasted like a bowl of savory chicken soup had mated with the Thai sweet chili sauce they pour over fried chicken in Thailand.  It also had lots of fun bits and pieces, like a shrimp ball, a fish ball and slices of liver. It’s the spiciest of the dishes on the specials menu, but not too bad when compared to Jitlada, Pa-Ord or Sapp.

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Speaking of Pa-ord and Sapp, if you’ve always wanted a sweeter version of boat noodles without the blood or the offal, you might like the pork noodle stew which had nice big hunks of stewed meat in it.  You can choose whatever kind of noodles you want, but the flat noodles felt right with this one

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Surprisingly the rolled rice noodles with pork was the most sweet of all the dishes. If you want a dry noodle dish for lunch, this is the one to go with.

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Considering how sweet all the other specials are, it was kind of a shock to try the spicy curry with “Thai spaghetti” (which is just code for thin rice noodles.)  It was vaguely like a typical green curry, but not sweet at all- or maybe it seemed that way after eating all the other dishes.  In the mood for something savory?  This is your order.

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But my favorite dish of all might have been the BBQ pork with sticky rice. The meat wasn’t particularly exceptional (in fact, it was kind of mediocre) but I love sticky rice.  And the sauce that comes with it is awesome.  Sweet (of course), spicy, and savory I couldn’t stop eating the stuff.  For $4, this dish felt the most like a lunch special… although I’d probably recommend going with at least one other friend and sharing a few dishes.  (One per person may not be enough.)

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There’s no question that Siam Sunset is more for breakfast than lunch (maybe that’s why everything was so sweet!?)  And it’s kind of surprising to see congee, dòufuhuā, and red plates- likely purchased from a warehouse in Chinatown- at the “Thaiest Thai in Thai Town”. But it’s not hard to see what the Guru meant. Siam Sunset feels like the kind of place that you would end up in after rolling out of bed in Bangkok… especially if you were staying at a place called “America’s Best Value Inn”.

THE +

  • $4 lunch specials?  You’re speaking my language!
  • I want to know what it’s like to eat breakfast in Thailand
  • I like my Thai food sweet

THE -

  • Wait, are you sure this place isn’t Chinese?
  • There are better versions of each of these dishes at other places in Thai Town
  • Everything is too sweet!
  • Nothing is really great, it’s all just kind of ordinary.

Siam Sunset, 5265 W. Sunset Blvd., 323-467-8935

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1 Comment

  • I’ve always wanted to go here for breakfast. I might happen one of these days since I’m near that area every day. Wait, how come I haven’t gone to Sapp yet for breakfast? Argg

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