Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cheap Eats: Sunshine Thai

Having a boyfriend who lives in East LA has its culinary advantages. Quinn knows where to get these sinful little cinnamon-brown sugar pancakes from the Asian market, where to get $3 tacos al pastor or which Korean BBQ place uses the best spices. Each place seems relatively nondescript, nothing to set it apart from all the others like it, except that he recommends them. That, for me, is enough. This is how I discovered Sunshine Thai.

Quinn’s father has been going there for something like 30 years, presumably toting a mini-Quinn with him throughout. The small staff recognize him instantly, and now me as well. Our waiter laughs and tells Quinn it’s difficult to recognize him with a beard; his memory of him no doubt baby-faced and small. Their food is simple and cheap, but the quality is higher than some of the pricier Thai places I’ve sampled in LA.
Dish of note: Pad See Ew. Unlike the one at Jitlada, the noodles practically swimming in thick gravy, Sunshine’s are light – almost as if they soaked up the gravy and all its spices. When I was younger, my main qualm with Asian cuisine was how tough and overcooked much of the meat was, but Sunshine’s is melt-in-your-mouth soft, an excellent pairing with the noodles.
Quinn ordered a dish served with white rice, chicken and bamboo stalks. The Pad See Ew had my full attention though, so I managed only a few bites of this dish. The egg rolls we ordered came last, and, a tad bit larger than expected. Chock-full of cinnamon-spiced pork, tofu, bean sprouts, cucumber and egg, the rice wraps were topped with a solitary shrimp.
Gorgeously presented and almost too much to eat, the entire meal cost a mere $26 with drinks.  In its mini-mall niche on Western Ave, this cash-only joint seems thus far undiscovered by the LA foodie trend. Stop by some night, and be sure to order the Pad See Ew!

Sunshine Thai
861 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029


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