Monday, March 24, 2014

Rocharin Thai - Seal Beach

OC doesn't have its own Thai Town, but this doesn't mean that we don't have great Thai restaurants. It only means that the ones we have are scattered throughout our fair county—the proverbial Easter eggs waiting to be found. Some of the greatest—Coconut Rabbit in Los Alamitos, Sutha Thai in Tustin and Tasty Thai in Lake Forest—are still waiting to be discovered. And then there's Rocharin Thai in Seal Beach, which isn't hard to find if you've ever decided to take the PCH scenic route instead of the 405 from Long Beach to Orange County.

I stopped in finally after what must be dozens of drive-bys, and it deserves its place among the greats. The interior design is straight-up Pier One. At sundown, they dim the lights low for a romantic mood, candle lights flickering on each table. Like Coconut Rabbit, Rocharin Thai is one of a handful of Thai restaurants that could conceivably and capably function as a first-date place. Wine and fruity soju-based cocktails are served. The shareable sticky rice with mango comes with two kinds of sticky rice.

And of course, the presentation is impeccable; but the food tastes even better than it looks. Nibble on shrimp bundled in crunchy-fried noodles, the cocoons crumbling into shards as you bite; or if you’d rather, swaddled up tight in golden wonton skin—they have both kinds. The fried tofu is just fried tofu, but it's served so hot it'll burn off the skin of your upper palate if you eat it too soon.

Then there are the main dishes. The crab fried rice is silky from the egg, with the sweet meat of the shellfish dotting the rice like confetti. A special red curry with pumpkin is amazing, proving that kabocha is a way better starch than potato to use for all curries—it’s sugary, comforting, and more colorful to boot. One of their specialties is simply called the Andaman Sea, which is a noodle dish not unlike pad Thai, but more zippy, and covered in seafood—squid rings, fish pieces, mussels, shrimp and scallop.

So discover this Easter egg already!

Rocharin Thai
600 Pacific Coast Hwy #108
Seal Beach, CA 90740
(562) 596-5156

Boathouse on the Bay - Long Beach


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