What Is It: Kaeng Phed Ped Yang, roasted duck in a spicy red curry with coconut milk, chunks of pineapple, tomato, basil leaves, and—my new favorite ingredient—Thai eggplants. For my money, Thai duck curries deliver are endlessly more exciting than beef, chicken, or pork versions.
Where Is It: Sri Siam Café in North Hollywood
What’s So Darn Special: At Sri Siam, the kitchen staff separates the wonderfully fatty duck skin from the succulent flesh before adding both to the curry. This is not a traditional Thai presentation nor is it done, to the best of my knowledge, at any other Thai restaurant in L.A.
Why Do They Do That: You know how when you eat traditional Peking (Beijing) duck, the super-crispy skin is served apart from the meat? You know how that’s the BEST THING EVER? The same idea is behind Sri Siam Cafe’s duck curry. The skin and meat each have their own special moment in your mouth. Elastic, chewy, and slick, the skin’s texture is strangely (but delectably) like a wet fruit roll-up—in the best way possible. On its own, the tender strips of meat are sweet and savory and completely undistracted by anything else. Also, separating the skin better exposes the duck’s fat layer to the curry broth, and as you know, kids: more fat means more flavor! This duck curry separates itself from the pack by separating the skin from the meat. Disunited and it tastes so good.
So, Where Do I Get It Again: