Lotus of Siam

Pin It Now! Lotus of Siam has always been on my to eat list in Vegas, but its off strip location made it a challenge to get to.  Its numerous accolades stretches from Top Chef to a James Beard award.  First thing to notice about this restaurant is in a dark, slightly off putting strip mall location.  The bums here swarm the parking lot looking for loose change, but aftermaneuvering around them (I do live in San Francisco, after all), I finally got to set foot inside.  Another observation about this restaurant is most of the customers are non Asian, which made me question its authenticity, but after eating here I'm convinced Chef Saipin Chutima's Nothern style Thai cuisine is possibly some of the best to be had outside of Thailand.

Thai ice tea is always a good starter, but this Thai restaurant actually has a small wine cellar in the middle of the restaurant.

I've never had the Thai version of nam kao tod, only the Lao version of this crispy rice salad at Champa Garden (see post HERE) and Vientiene in Oakland, which is absolutely fantastic.  Nam kao tod is one of the many specialties of this restaurant.  There are a couple differences between the Thai version and the Lao version.  One is that its just eating as so and not wrapped up using lettuce and mint leaves like in the Lao version.  Also, this rice ball salad had intense flavors.  Sharp lime flavors along with fish sauce and cilantro keeps your mouth guessing what flavor will pop next.  The rice is also much more crispy and crunchy.  Hard to say which version I like more, but as with Tinglish (Thai English) its just "same same, but different".  

Koi soi is another popular dish here.  Its minced raw beef mixed with fresh herbs, chilis, and lime juice.  One of the pleasantly surprising things about this restaurant is they don't hold back on the heat.  A medium or a "5" provides quite the kick.  So a 10 is most likely legitimately "Thai spicy".  Not knowing how to gauge how truly spicy they would make the dish, I opted for a medium, but next time I'll be sure to go back for an "8".

I never really had a favorite Thai dish (besides som tom).  I really just liked them all until I went to Chiang Mai last year where I fell in love with khao soi.  This Thai noodle soup is actually of Burmese origin.  Its most well known and loved in the Northern Thailand, specifically Chiang Mai, where its known as a regional specialty.  The curry is somewhat like yellow curry with a coconut base and hints of ground chili.  A small handful of egg noodles and crispy, fried noodles completes this dish and makes it absolutely like heaven in a bowl.  Its really hard to find this dish in the Bay Area (or done well at least) so I found it special to indulge in such a well made bowl.

Pickled cabbage and shallots are a must add to the khao soy.  The crunchy, salty, and pickled bits add a nice contrast to the sweet, creamy soup.

Address:                   Lotus of Siam
                                  953 E. Sahara Ave.
                                  Las Vegas, NV
Type:                         Thai

Popular chomps:       crispy duck
                                   papaya salad
                                   drunken noodles
                                   khao soi
                                   nam kao tod
                                   moo dad dew
                                   sea bass
                                   sai oui                            

Chomp worthy:          khao soi
                                   nam kao tod                                                                        

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