Monday, March 13, 2006

Ocean Thai Cuisine

A month or two before I moved to North County, San Diego my friend took me to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in Oceanside. This quaint Thai restaurant, called Ocean Thai Cuisine, is tucked away in a tiny strip mall next to a convienence store and Latino market. I never would have found this gem without my friend's help.

Since that first visit I have been back at least 7 times. My husband and I love the prices (you can easily eat a great meal for under $10 a person) and, so far, we think it's the best Thai restaurant in town. 2 weekends ago I took my mom there and yesterday I took my husband for his birthday dinner. We decided on Ocean Thai because we've both been sick for the last five days and I've always found Thai food to be very comforting when I'm sick or cold (or sad). After both visits we had enough food for another meal. I adore Thai leftovers.

lemonadeYou'll be happy to know that I did remember to take pictures during both recent visits. The first visit I decided to use my new cell phone camera to see if it could do the job but I was highly disappointed with the quality. The second time I used my digital camera but not the flash (since the flash would definitely attract attention) so the pictures came out fairly dark. I also took pictures of some of the leftovers which isn't as attractive as the plated dishes but these are much easier to see.

Chicken Satay
If you read my blog regularly then you know that I LOVE Tom Yum Koong (tom yum with shrimp). I've tried making it myself and while it was good, it wasn't great (partly because 99 Ranch Market NEVER has any kaffir lime leaves when I go). Ocean Thai makes a GREAT Tom Yum. It's fragrant and just spicy enough (I ask for everything medium spicy so that my husband can eat it too). Their other soups are comforting as well. The Hot and Sour soup looks similar to the Chinese version but tastes sweeter with a thinner broth. Usually I don't like Hot and Sour soup but this one was delicious.

Tom Yum Koong
When you go to Ocean Thai Cuisine, order the Sampler Platter (for 2 or 4). Unless you're crazy and don't like spring rolls, you'll love this plate. The platter for 2 consists of 2 shrimp rolls, 4 mini spring rolls, 2 large spring rolls (slightly different than the previous spring rolls) and 2 shrimp purses. Everything is fried but nothing is greasy. Their dishes are always garnished with cute carrot flowers and their sauces are always tasty.

Sampler Platter for 2
Speaking of sauces, their Chicken Satay has the BEST cucumber chutney (something similar is served with the Angel Wings as well). The sauces for the Cucumber salad, sampler platter, and peanut sauce for the satay are equally complimentary to their dishes.

Leftover Cucumber Chutney Cucumber Salad
Their Larb Gai (chicken Larb) is a great appetizer or leftover. It's not too spicy and not too acidic. My mom and I ended up eating the cucumber salad and Larb Gai for lunch the next day.

Larb Gai
During both of my recent visits we tried the Angel Wings appetizer. We had never ordered these before because it says the 2 wings are around $8 which seems really pricey to me. That is until they brought the wings to the table. 2 wings is an understatement. These suckers are huge (the photo below doesn't do them justice). I honestly have no idea how they get these wings to expand so much. After they are deboned they are stuffed with glass noodles and shrimp and then fried. The wings were extremely filling and crisp without being greasy.

Angel Wings
When I was eating at Ocean Thai with my mom the other week I noticed that they had made a few changes. They had tableclothes, cute folded napkins, and a new fish tank. I have to admit, my husband and I were sad to see our big fish friend go. He was old and snappy (literally, he snapped at you while you were eating) so it was probably his time to go. I can't help but wonder if he ended up as someone's dinner. Instead of the big old fish they have an updated fish tank with smaller fish. They also have Thai sculptures and jewelry on shelves (I believe they are available for purchase) and carved woodwork on the walls.

Ocean Thai Cuisine
I've always found their customer service to be prompt and friendly. The other day I asked a woman there where they bought their Kaffir Lime leaves. She was extremely nice and offered to give me some if I just stop by the next time I need some. I'm a little shy when it comes to situations like that so I decided to go to 99 Ranch Market to see if they had any (she said they come in big bags). Unfortunately I couldn't find them anywhere. For some reason they don't sell kaffir lime leaves on the days I visit. The nice woman also offered to give me directions to a nursery that might sell the entire plant. I was disappointed when I went back last night and she wasn't there. I wanted to let her know that I hadn't found the kaffir lime leaves (maybe she would offer me some?).

Now that I've eaten my leftovers from last night I'm planning my next order at Ocean Thai Cuisine.

Ocean Thai Cuisine
3846 Mission Ave #A3
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 967-9901


Rorie said...

Your meal plus leftovers sounds delicious. I agree with you 100% on Thai food being soothing when you're sick or sad - must be the chili peppers!

Joseph E said...

Let us know if you ever find the lime leaves in some other grocery store. I´ve been looking for them in other Vietnamese groceries as well, with no success.

Nice blog, btw; Kirk from mmm-yoso sent me here.

honkman said...

You can get normally kaffir lime leaves at:

United Oriental Food Market
5349 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115-4730

Gourmetish said...

honkman, Thanks so much for the tip. I will check out United Food Market the next time I'm in that area (it's a bit far for me).

Joseph, welcome! I heard that Whole Foods has kaffir lime leaves but it's not close to me either so I'm still searching for somewhere really close that has them.

Rorie, are you back?

Anonymous said...

Where can i buy the kaffir lime tree. I would like to plant one in my garden.
Thanks, Jon

Paul Guess said...

Hi there... very nice blog... and we could not agree with you more about Ocean Thai Cuisine. We love it... We'll check out some of your other favorites.. and you might check out our favorites... Paul

Anonymous said...

You can get Kaffir lime leaves in Mira Mesa at:

Vinh Hung Supermarket
10550 Camino Ruiz
San Diego, CA 92126

(858) 689-9711‎

the leaves are located at the back of the vegetable section on a shelf, in a little packet of about 10 leaves for less than $2.00