Family Thai’s

Ayara Thai's Special Menu

Ayara Thai’s Special Menu

The gratification one must receive from starting a family business is probably more than words can simply explain. I have never worked with family and never plan on it because the headache would most likely outweigh the accomplishments. Certain family restaurants look like a finely tuned machine and others look like a typical episode of Kitchen Nightmares. Some families have no problem working together and it shows in the final outcome.

Such is the case with Ayara Thai in Westchester. We only had the pleasure of meeting Vanda, one of the chefs and prominent figure of Ayara whose personality provides a soothing atmosphere throughout the restaurant. While being soft-spoken and sweet, Vanda manages to portray a sense of passion for her food and culture. Each dish placed on the table was served with a heartfelt explanation of it’s history and importance.

Upon entering Ayara, food becomes more than simply a vehicle, it’s an expression of what Ayara is and where it’s headed.There is one constant at Ayara – Vanda’s mother – who seems to rarely have a day off and barely steps away from the kitchen. Vivian, who has been handling the marketing at Ayara for quite some time has claimed to have only seen her once or twice. Dedication comes in many forms and can lead to a disastrous outcome but the end result here is undeniable.

Our meal started off with Miang Kham, a traditional street snack comprised of ginger, onion, roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, toasted coconut, unpeeled lime and chiles for a touch of heat. Place all the aforementioned items in a leaf with syrup and devour in a single bite. If you can manage to not take a direct bite into a chile, you will be treated to a sweet sensation followed with a generous amount of heat.

Miang Kham

Miang Kham

Next was a shared plate of Moo Ping and Sticky Rice served with their bbq and tiger’s cry sauce. Moo ping is grilled marinated pork on skewers which is another common dish served in Thailand. Both sauces displayed a controlled amount of heat which were tasty without being overpowering. I personally enjoyed rolling the sticky rice in a ball and dipping away.

Moo Ping & Sticky Rice

Moo Ping & Sticky Rice

Raw Hama Oysters were served next, followed by a bitter melon soup. Two separate oysters were served with black vinegar, ginger, cilantro and crispy scallions which were a definite crowd pleaser. As far as the Bitter Melon Soup, I could have easily done without. For my taste, it was very bitter and pungent but was placed in a much more palate friendly broth. Some at the table mentioned that they have tasted more bitter versions and actually prefer it that way.

Raw Hama Oysters

Raw Hama Oysters

Bitter Melon Soup

Bitter Melon Soup

Our entrees came out in a plethora of plates scattered throughout the table with a plate of Nam Prik Kapi (a vegetable platter) being the focal point. Vanda explained to us that it’s a dish that is meant to be eaten in between other main dishes such as the Claypot Baked Dungeness Crab, Spicy Crispy Catfish and Ka-Pow Chicken that were being devoured by everyone at the table.

Nam Prik Kapi

Nam Prik Kapi

Claypot Baked Dungeness Crab

Claypot Baked Dungeness Crab

Spicy Crispy Catfish

Spicy Crispy Catfish

Ka-Pow Chicken

Ka-Pow Chicken

The Claypot Baked Dungeness Crab was, by far, the crowd favorite. Baked in Thai spices, accompanied by glass noodles sitting on top of pork fat can only be described as heavenly. Another main course was the Spicy Crispy Catfish which was cut up, seasoned, fried and piled high in a towering display of greatness. Between this dish and the Dungeness Crab, I’m not sure I can pick an exact favorite so I will just have to give the nod to both. Two other dishes that adorned the table were the Ka-Pow Chicken which was minced and served with vegetables and a Stir-fry Chinese Broccoli that was extremely tender and well-seasoned. These last two dishes are a little hard to describe being I was so completely full that taking small bites of both required a serious amount of effort.

Last, but certainly not least, came the desserts which were so pleasing to the eye that I had to somehow make a last ditch effort to eat a bit more. I really wish I could have enjoyed these more because the flavor of each dessert was incredible. The assorted dumplings in warm coconut cream could easily hit the spot on a chilly coastal night. There were three style of dumplings in the cream but the pumpkin flavored dumpling really took center stage. I have had mango and sticky rice at plenty of other restaurants but the ripeness of the mango and the delicious rice pudding texture of the sticky rice was absolutely fantastic. Again, I would have loved to enjoy these more so it will definitely be on the radar for our next visit.

Assorted Dumplings in Warm Coconut Cream

Assorted Dumplings in Warm Coconut Cream

Mango and Sticky Rice

Mango and Sticky Rice

Ayara Thai is a special place and is a destination that should be on the top of your list. Most of the above items are either seasonal or weekend specials so call ahead if you are looking for something in particular. Ayara is also looking to expand their space in the near future to open up a space to serve liquor and have a full-time noodle bar.

Ayara Thai
6245 W 87th St
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 410-8848

 

*Disclaimer: This was a hosted meal.

2 Comments

  • Reply December 15, 2012

    Eatsporkjew.com

    I love mango with sticky rice and I’m leaving for my first trip to Thailand in a week. Can’t wait to eat everything you posted about from the ancestors who created it! yum.

    • Reply December 16, 2012

      Matthew McIvor

      Wow. That’s awesome! I’m sure you are going to have a great time. Thanks for the feedback!

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