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Zestful Taste of Thai Cuisine At Ocha Thai Restaurant

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Just recently we traveled towards Downtown Las Vegas and came across Ocha, Thai and Chinese restaurant which has been in Las Vegas for 27 years.

PongPan Watana, the owner and his manager Larry believe in giving their customers authentic cuisine. The tradition of this restaurant is to present cuisine at a reasonable price and give it's customers great entertainment. Lawan, and PongPan Watana, arrived in Las Vegas when there was just a couple of Thai restaurants. Both wanted to offer traditional Thai cuisine, because it was part of their heritage, which the other restaurants didn't follow at that time.

Jaew waew Prayoonharn [Sugar], the gracious and very attractive entertainer sings traditional Thai songs and American songs. She also invites the audience to take center stage and sing. I was one of the first, singing a couple of classics, Fly Me To The Moon and My Way. Sugar incidentally has sung for Royalty and has recorded in Thailand. She plans to release a new album early next year.

ocha thai restaurant
Interior of the Ocha Thai Restaurant, Los Angeles
Photo: Mark Richards

My guest for our culinary journey were Elizabeth Del Rosaro, Joshua Lyles, and Mark Richards, starting off the evening with some Thai beers, Thai ice tea, later enjoying Sterling red wine, while Mark ordered a Riesling white wine.

Beginning with two soup specialties, Chicken Tom Yum and Shrimp Tom Yum with Prawns, we enjoyed the zestful taste. To savor these soups, one must appreciate the lemon grass, chili and lime juice used in the preparation with the vegetables, chicken and shrimp, flavored with mushrooms. The special sauce and other ingredients are handed down from generations.

For most people who enjoy hot spicy food, the Papaya salad with peanut dried shrimp, tomato, hot chili, lime and special juice is a knockout. The curry dishes with chicken, pork, beef shrimp or catfish can be ordered hot, mild, or medium.

Green or red curry is served with these dishes. Chinese dishes include, Chinese Broccoli and Oyster sauce, Bean Spouts and Green Onion, Chinese Watercress and mixed vegetables. During the evening, the Red curry dish with chicken was an eye opener to the culture of Thailand, as well as the Pad Thai, noodles fried Thai style with egg, bean sprouts, green onions and topped with chicken.

"I like the Pad Thai because it's not too sweet and I enjoyed the golden brown noodles," Elizabeth Del Rosaro said. This dish also comes with Pork or Beef. Another delightful dish is the Soy Bean Noodle [Pad SAEW]. This is especially popular with Vegetarians. Justin Ngarmnet, our waiter, told us his family takes pride in preparing Thai cuisine, only using the finest ingredients, some of which are imported from Thailand. Dang Lawan is to be congratulated for her diverse style of cooking, especially the Larb chicken, prepared with rice powder, onions, lime juice, cilantro and special sauce. Along with the variety of samples we tried, the Hawaiian Fried rice and Pan Fried Rice with Egg where so filling, we had to take the rest home.

What became my favorite dish was the Chicken with chili and mint leaves, and the Fish cake. After a delightful dinner, where all eyes were bigger than their stomachs, we recommend you bring your family with empty stomachs to feast upon the many items we haven't yet tried.

"There's no question that this food is some of nthe best Thai food I've ever enjoyed," Mark Richards and Justin Lyles both said.

Ocha Thai Restaurant has lunch specials at $6.95 served from 11am-3:30pm and dinner specials from $8.95, served from 6pm-10pm.They're located at 1201 Las Vegas Boulevard. Call 702-386-8631 for catered events or special functions.

Celebrity Scene News awards Ocha Thai Restaurant 4 stars for it's authentic cuisine and fine entertainment. Tell them Pete sent ya!

Pete Allman is a Las Vegas-based commentator, broadcast personality, celebrity interviewer and restaurant critic. Pete also produces inspirational messages for television and other media. Contact him at peteonthescene@yahoo.com or (702)265-9099. Visit www.CelebrityScene.com Read more stories by Pete Allman.

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