Cooking with Mum: Loh Baak Gao

When I go to yum cha, one of my favourite items is the loh baak gao (that’s my Romanisation, in case you’re wondering; it might be wrong, but that’s how it sounds to my ear). It’s often referred to as radish cake in English. Something is lost in this translation, because goh in Cantonese refers to something creamy or gelatinous in consistency. It’s used variously in the words for cream, toothpaste, and various (usually steamed) desserts involving glutinous rice flour.

But enough with the language lesson. Loh baak gao is a savoury dish, with a dense texture, not unlike a flourless chocolate cake, but not as heavy, and not quite so heavy. It’s usually cut into tiles and pan-fried at most yum cha services. And while I love it there, not surprisingly, very few restaurants make it was well as my mother, in my opinion. So imagine my surprise – and I’ll admit, disappointment – when mum revealed to me that she didn’t have some arcane family recipe for the dish, but rather her version came from a Chinese cookbook!

Anyway, here’s the recipe (adjusted slightly by Mama cloudcontrol).

– 600gm rice flour (mum says the red packet, not the green packet – that’s glutinous!)
– 60gm potato starch (you can use cornflour instead if you want)
– 1.5L water
– 1kg white radish/daikon (I really still don’t quite get the difference some days)
– 4-6 Chinese sausages
– 150gm dried shrimp
– 100gm shiitake mushrooms (optional – a good alternative if you’re making this for vegetarians)
– 1 small knob of ginger
– 2 tbsp vegetable oil

You’ll need a wok, and a big steamer. Also a deep metal dish, or a baking tin. A spring-form tin here is very useful.

1. Soak the dried shrimp in a little boiling water.

2. Peel and julienne your daikon. It doesn’t have to be super-fine, but this will affect the texture of end product. I’d recommend you need it at least as fine as 5mm, if not finer. But it’s a preference thing. Some people like the end result a bit chunky.

3. Dice the Chinese sausage and/or shiitake mushrooms.

4. Add about 1L of the water to the rice flour.

5. Using a broad knife or cleaver, smash the knob of ginger, like you would a clove of garlic before you skin it.

6. Heat the wok (med-high heat) and add the vegetable oil. When it starts smoking, add the knob of ginger. A few seconds later, add the Chinese sausage. Fry this off until the sausage starts to brown.

7. Drain the dried shrimp and add to the wok. Also add the shiitake mushrooms now if you’re adding them. Continue frying for another 30 seconds or so.

8. Add the daikon, as well as the remaining water. Turn the heat down to medium, and continue to cook, stirring regularly. You’ll need to cook this through for about 5-10 minutes, until the daikon has softened a bit. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked yet, just kinda limp and a touch translucent.

9. At this point, remove the ginger and then add in your glutinous flour mixture. Be careful to continue stirring as you add; you don’t want it to cook on impact with the wok.

10. Continue cooking, stirring constantly. When the mixture takes on the consistency of a runny dough, it’s ready. Remove it from the heat.

11. Use a spatula or chan to transfer the mixture into a greased metal dish or tin. Transfer this dish to the steamer, and steam for about 45 minutes.

You can check if it’s done like any cake: an inserted skewer should come out clean.

Let it cool, and then slice it up. It’s easier to cut if you’ve refrigerated it for a few hours. You can just heat it up in the microwave or steamer, or you can pan fry it. Use a pan on a relatively high heat – no-stick is good, or else don’t skimp on the oil. You want the edges a bit crispy.

The way I was brought up eating it (which I still maintain is the best) was in the Vietnamese bot chien style, pan-fried with eggs and diced pickled radish and spring onions.

Pho at Pho Tam

1/7-9 Leeds St, Footscray
Phone: 9687 2680

Now I know I’ve reviewed this place before, but after some buzz from various other bloggers, I thought I should give it another shot, and more specifically, try their pho. After all, the place is called Pho Tam. So you’d hope that pho would be their signature dish.

The previous time I’d been in, it was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and the place was in that slack caretaker mode which drops over a lot of restaurants after the lunch rush ends, like the food coma which hits you after a satisfyingly carb-laden lunch. This time around, I was in on a late Saturday morning, just pipping the lunch crowd. I thought I’d eat before doing my grocery shopping at the nearby Little Saigon market, though clearly most people do it the other way around, judging by the laden carts and shopping bags people hauled in with them.

I had a bit of a hangover that morning – which is becoming an unsettling trend – so what that usually means for me is I want more offal in my pho. Liver and tongue, in particular. Unfortunately, in my years of living back in Australia, my Vietnamese has dropped off considerably, and I don’t really remember how to ask for extras. I suppose I could just ask in English, but there’s some pride at stake!

Anyway, I deviated from my usual, and ordered the pho bo ga dac biet. Regular readers will know that I usually eschew the ga (chicken) when it comes to pho, unless I’m sick. But being hung over is somewhat like being ill, so run with me here.

The bowl is heavily laden with all sorts of wonderful offal, from beef tripe, tongue and tendon, to chicken hearts and liver. Of course, there’s also some beef and chicken in there, but who cares about the flesh, when there are organs to be had, really? Surprisingly, there was no cube of congealed pig’s blood; a regular guest star in a pho ga dac biet. Perhaps it would be too much iron in a bowl already heaving with both chicken and cow bits.
The broth was pretty amazing. Not overly noticeable MSG, and not too sweet, though there was a definite umami kick. The spices were also definitely there, but they weren’t too in your face. I’m not a broth drinker, unlike some pho connoisseurs, but I almost polished off all of this bowl. We’re talking a seriously good broth this morning. I have heard, however, that they can be a bit inconsistent with their broth, so perhaps I was just very lucky. Or my hangover may also have clouded my judgement, but still, it was delectable.
To finish it off, and to put a kick into my day, I had a ca phe sua da. Nothing says bliss like equal parts coffee and condensed milk.
So in summary, if you’re going to Pho Tam, I recommend you try the pho. Who woulda thunk it, right?
Pho Tam on Urbanspoon

bo.lan (an amnesty photopost)

This post has been sitting in my drafts pile since April. So I’m giving up and just providing photos, because it’s too hard to recall it all.

Bo.lan is a Thai restaurant in Bangkok run by two chefs who used to work at Nahm under David Thompson in London. More details on their website. When I visited in late March, Mr N and I had the Bo.lan Balance menu, which was six (I think?) courses of amazing contemporary Thai food.

The Botanical

169 Domain Rd, South Yarra
Phone: 9820 7888

I was interviewed on Joy FM last weekend, along with @thatjessho and @melbgastronome. One of the questions which @dillonpete asked us was what our worst dining experience of 2010 was. Whether it was out of politeness or we genuinely couldn’t remember anything truly woeful, we all answered that there wasn’t any standout failure in our memories. Little did I know that mine was still yet to be had, this late into the year.

Now I know there are ethical issues about writing a negative review about a restaurant, especially based on only one visit, but I have always believed that this blog is a reflection of my own personal dining (and sometimes cooking) experiences, so please take what I’m about to write below as such. I’m not professing to be giving an expert opinion here, I’m merely sharing my recent experience at the Botanical with you all.

The Botanical has recently re-opened after a few months of being closed for renovations. It had been open for about two weeks by the time we visited. It was already pretty busy at 7pm when I arrived, though I managed to score a table large enough to seat the five of us (they don’t take bookings for the casual dining section). The others arrived just before 7:30 and we fairly promptly ordered. We’d all ordered an entree each, and a main, and a bottle of wine for the table. Here’s where things started to go wrong.

About ten minutes later, the wine still hadn’t arrived, so Ms D mentioned it to one of the many waitstaff hovering around the bar area. She replied, “Oh, so you’re the table that ordered that wine! Sorry, but we’re all out of that wine.” A little perturbed by the fact the bar wasn’t informed which table the wine was supposed to be going to, we nonetheless ordered another bottle of wine. Which arrived quite promptly. A minor hiccough, right? Completely forgiveable, especially seeing as the waitress who took our order had professed that it was her first day working there.

Then the entrees came. Ms D had the quail, and the others ordered oysters (I didn’t manage to get a decent shot of the oysters, but they looked pretty good). Everyone was pretty happy with their entrees. Except yours truly. Why? Because it didn’t arrive.

After waiting more than five minutes – surely it’s coming, right? I was presented with two sets of cutlery, so the order mus have gone in, right? – we enquired about the missing entree. It was about another ten minutes later that it arrived. I may be jumping to conclusions here, but I’m fairly sure someone forgot about it.

Anyway, I ordered the Beggar’s Pork. Which is basically code for pieces of fried pork loin and belly. Which was four types of awesome, but really could have done with some sort of dipping sauce – an aioli? something with a touch of acid or sweetness? – because the pork was seasoned to be pretty salty. Ironically, the opposite of Ms D’s quail.

I ate quite quickly, because I was aware that the others had finished their entrees long before mine had arrived. I needn’t have bothered, because we were in for a long wait for our mains. It was quite a while after I had finished before a waitress stopped by our table to ask if we’d like another bottle of wine. We said, “Yes, and could you also take these empty plates away?”

Jump forward half an hour. We were getting hungry again, and so we asked a waitress how much longer our mains would be. She went to check with the kitchen and never came back.

Cut to another ten minutes later. The waitress who originally took our order comes across to apologetically tell us that our meal would be another fifteen minutes or so, and that they hadn’t expected to be so busy. Really? You have a function for ANZ on, and you’re not expecting to be busy? Anyway, that might have been the reason for the delay, but reading other responses on urbanspoon recently, I’m not so sure. There seems to be a trend since the re-opening for slow service. Which is a little odd, because there was no shortage of front of house staff, they just seemed to be buzzing around a little aimlessly.

Mr I had suspected something was up when he saw her looking rather anxiously at our table, while discussing something in front of the register with another waitress. Suspicions were further heightened when he overheard other customers complaining about a long wait for food on the way to the bathroom.

In any case, to assuage our hunger, we were presented with some bread ‘to nibble on’. Which is all you could really do to the bread with which we were presented, because it was quite clearly stale.

A little later, we mentioned the wait to the maitre’d. He acknowledged the fault and apologised for the delay, and assured us that the food was on its way, and that the kitchen was organising some sides and dessert for us to make it up to us. At this point, we were hopeful that this experience might be turned around. Responsive service and the promise of free desserts? Not so bad. But then it was another fifteen minutes after that before our mains arrived. By this stage, it was around 9:30pm.

Ms D and Mr C had ordered the Roast of the Day – a scotch fillet with roast vegetables and a carrot puree. Both said it was quite good, especially the carrot puree.

Mr A had the veal schnitzel, which was sadly a little on the lukewarm side of warm. He wasn’t very impressed, but having waited so long, he made do because who knows how long a replacement would take? Mr A is also a fan of anchovies, but he said the slaw with anchovies on top of the schnitzel just really didn’t work.
Mr I ordered the wagyu burger. Unlike Mr A, he did send his burger back, because it was completely raw on the inside.

When the replacement came, it was remarkably underwhelming, and Mr I commented that it wasn’t really much of a burger, and felt like it had been poorly hand-minced. There were visible chunks of beef in the burger, and he said it was rather gristly. At least the fries were good!

I ordered the Angus sirloin, rare. I like my meat bloody. I had the sinking feeling, even before it arrived – again, a good couple of minutes after everyone else’s mains – that this wasn’t going to end well.

The steak, while a decent piece of beef, was well beyond rare, and somewhere between medium-rare and medium, by my estimation. Like Mr A, however, I wasn’t going to send it back, because the potential wait was too much of a deterrent.
The other thing which was a little disappointing about my steak was how much of it was purely fat. I’m not averse to fat on my meat – in fact, I relish it – but trying to eat this much fat in a single chunk was too much, even for me.
Once we had received our mains, the waitress who had originally served us – who had quite noticeably been avoiding our table since she delivered the bad news – returned to check how everything was. I think she was expecting us to be appreciative and happy with the food, because she was a bit surprised when we told her of the raw burger, and the cold schnitzel. She completely misread the situation I think, because her response should have been to apologise humbly, and vanish to tell management or the kitchen. Instead, she tried to laugh off the situation, by saying, “Oh well, I guess it happens to everyone at least once in their lifetime!” Probably not a good idea to reinforce the fact this experience was so bad that it might only happen to someone once in their lifetime. Also probably not a good idea to link that notion to the establishment at which you work.

I should also note that the only sides which we received were the beans which we had ordered, which Mr A proclaimed just about the only thing the Botanical had gotten right that night. I thought this was a little harsh, but overall we had been having a pretty woeful experience.

When we finished our mains, we asked for the bill. The maitre’d seemed a little shocked that we weren’t going to stay for some free dessert, but quite frankly, who knows how long that would have taken to arrive, and based on the food which we’d just eaten, it wasn’t such an exciting prospect. I was tempted to ask him to just deduct the price of whatever desserts they were going to give us from the bill, but I thought that might be a little too impertinent.

The last drama of the night came when we were presented with a bill with two $130 bottles of wine on it. We had ordered two $55 bottles of wine. In fact, there were no $130 bottles of wine even on the casual dining wine list! It seems someone behind the bar had messed that up, too. The wine, which is available in the fine dining section, was from the same winery, so not looking closely, we had simply trusted that it was the correct bottle. An error which, for once, worked out in our favour! Again, when the maitre’d rectified this error, his jovial comment, “well, you’re in luck, because you’ve had some pretty great wine tonight!” seemed to ignore the fact that we’d also endured some pretty woeful service to eat some rather average food.

To return to my original caveat, this was a singular experience. The Botanical has been open in this incarnation for two weeks, so it’s not completely unexpected that they would still be experiencing some teething problems. It takes time to train up staff, and get a kitchen running smoothly. With that in mind, I don’t think I’d rule out returning, but I won’t be back anytime soon. Hopefully a lot will have changed by then.

Botanical on Urbanspoon

Peko Peko

190 Wells St, South Melbourne
Phone: 9686 1109

Complete disclosure: I dined as the guest of Peko Peko.

Being a former Collingwood resident, and staunch Butter Side Up Northsider for life, when someone mentions Peko Peko, I think of the modern Japanese place on Smith St. And when I first heard of Peko Peko in South Melbourne, I assumed that is was just another outlet of the Smith St restaurant. So when people started talking about a ‘Japanese inspired’ Taiwanese restaurant earlier this year, I was curious. But it was Southside, so I wasn’t that interested.

That’s probably why it took me so long to get down there. But when the folks at nuffnang organised a get-together there, it seemed like the right time had arrived. What I thought was going to be a fun, social lunch with some other local foodbloggers turned out to be something of a lunch feast, as we were presented with one dish after another. By the end of the lunch, we’d sampled, from most reports, most of the highlights of the Peko Peko menu! So here’s a quick(ish) run-down of what we tried that day:

Pepper squid balls and wasabi mayo prawns:

The squid balls were OK – you could really taste the squid – but I wouldn’t order them again. The wasabi mayo prawns, on the other hand, I could eat all day. Though I’d add more wasabi to the mix, but I love wasabi.

We also had some of Peko’s Sausages and a twist on an agedashi tofu.

The sausage was good, but it was memorable more for the novelty factor of eating each slice with a slice of raw garlic, as suggested by Vanessa, who used to work at Peko Peko. The tofu was lovely – silken tofu, which was a bit tricky to pick up – and the dressing was closer to a soy than a dashi.

Then the mains came out – first up, Pork Chop Addiction.

Deep-fried pork chop pieces, in a sweet, tangy and mildly spicy sauce. This reminded me of my dad’s ‘Beijing’ sauce, which was a tricked up sweet and sour, with the addition of hoi sin sauce, chilli, pepper and a few other ingredients. I quite enjoyed this dish, but the star of this lunch was clearly the Pop Chicken.
Inevitably drawing comparisons to the KFC Popcorn Chicken, which are a little unwarranted, but invited by the name of the dish, Pop Chicken is excellently seasoned, super crunchy and yet tender and moist pieces of chicken. They’re more two-bite than bite sized, and there’s a spicy-sweet dipping sauce, which I tended to ignore in favour of some kewpie-style mayo. Nutritionally, this dish is a FAIL, but who cares – you know what you’re getting yourself into when you order fried chicken, right? Right.

We also tried the Mince Mince, which I didn’t really like that much. It was a troublesome dish to share; though the minced brisket had a lot of flavour – a bit too much salt in my opinion – I think it might be a better dish as part of one of Peko Peko’s bento boxes. The tea eggs were OK, but didn’t really have a lot of the tea flavour in them.

We also had some side dishes; perfectly cooked broccoli and cauliflower, and dry-fried green beans. I can’t overstate how much better beans are when there’s frying involved. The texture of the skin improves ten-fold, and they still retain the sweetness which makes the fresh version a joy.
Then we all decided we had to sample the desserts, because they’re very much the stuff of twitter gushing. From left to right: Cheesecake duo (Oreo and baked Japanese chiffon); Green tea ice cream and black sticky rice; Earl grey pannacotta and black sesame ice cream.
I didn’t try the cheesecake, but I can assure you that the other two desserts are worth skipping your lunch or dinner for.

I don’t know how soon I’ll be going back to Peko Peko, but it’s not because of the food, it’s just because it’s not really conveniently located for anyone unless you live in Central Equity land (the South Melbourne apartment ghetto near Channel 7 studios) or you work somewhere nearby on St Kilda Rd or Queens Rd.

Pekopeko on Urbanspoon

Pho Hien Vuong 1

37 Leeds St, Footscray
Phone: 9687 1470

Pho Hien Vuong is oldskool. Neon lights in the window: check. Mirrored walls: check. Bad 80s chairs: check.In short, there’s very little not to like about the place. The deal was sealed, however, when I stopped in on a Saturday morning and they were playing old pop ballads from the 60s. We used to have a tape (yes, kids, we’re talking cassettes here) of old 60s songs that my father loved, playing on loop in our restaurant when I was growing up. I always imagined to him listening to the songs in Viet Nam out of an old transistor radio when he was a teenager.

Anyway, there’s a feeling of authenticity when you walk into Pho Hien Vuong 1. It’s probably due for a nuskool makeover, but I hope not anytime soon, because there’s a certain charm about its complete lack of regard for modern decor. Something charmingly Vietnamese. If it ain’t broke, right?

As per usual, I had the pho bo dac biet. There was a good amount of beef, and I remember running out of pho noodles before I got through all of the meat and offal in the bowl.
I really wanted to love this place, because the outward appearance is just about everything I think a pho joint should be, but what let it down was the broth. It was just too sweet, even for me! I believe that you should never have to adjust good pho broth – just add the fresh lemon and chilli as accents, but if I have to touch the fish sauce bottle on the table, something’s amiss. I had to add some fish sauce at Hien Vuong 1.

The crowd on that day was an interesting mix of Vietnamese people and Caucasian punters who were clearly about to go, or had just come from Footscray Market, and stopped in because of Hien Vuong’s convenient location. Once again, which is an increasingly troubling trend, Hien Vuong 1’s pho is not bad, but it’s not great. It’s mediocre. And according to the rule of proximal pho, that’s just not good enough.

Hien Vuong 1 on Urbanspoon

Pho Chu The

270 Victoria St, Richmond
Phone: 9427 7749

For those of you readers who follow mt on twitter, it might stagger you beyond belief that I have not actually reviewed Pho Chu The before. Indeed it was a surprise to myself when I recently met up with friends for some pho that I had actually neglected to blog about Chu The up until that point.

Perhaps it was not wanting to make the perennially popular pho joint even more famous; because it’s hard enough to get a seat in there on weekend lunchtimes, or some evenings. Anyway, when Mr E came down from Canberra, I met up with him, Ms T and Ms G to show him what pho in Melbourne is about. He’d recently returned from a holiday Viet Nam, armed with my map of Saigon hotspots, so I guess the lack of good pho (or so I’m told) in Canberra was felt all the more keenly.

As always, I ordered the pho bo dac biet. As always, the broth was wonderfully spiced; the anise and cardamom singing out against a solid background of beefiness. Yes, there was detectable MSG action, but that’s a part of good pho broth, in my estimation. It wasn’t over-the-top, which is what matters.

I’m not going to go into too much detail, as you’ve all heard me wax lyrical about pho before. Suffice it to say that Chu The serves up a reliably good version of the life-force sustaining soup noodle, and there’s a reason it’s on the top of my list of places to recommend for pho in Richmond.

Pho Chu The on Urbanspoon

Le Chien

5 Gamon St, Seddon
Phone: 9362 7333

There’s a dearth of cafes which serve a Western breakfast in Footscray. While that’s not really an issue for me – I’ll take a bowl of congee or pho, or a banh mi or some yum cha any day – I know that some people prefer a more familiar breakfast menu on the weekends. So when Ms A came to stay last weekend, we headed down to nearby Seddon for a coffee and some breakfast.

Walking down Charles St, and being unfamiliar with the area, I held out against choosing any of the cafes we passed, because I remembered driving past Le Chien and it being bustling. Always a good sign. So we rounded the corner and dodged the dog-walking locals, and pressed on the button for the automatic swinging door to open. OK, I had to mention that because it’s a novel gadget. And I’m a guy. We get distracted by things like that.

Anyway, we were seated at a table by the window. I was facing outside, with my back being buffeted by a fan which was on rather high. It was a warm morning, but I don’t think it warranted such wind speed. The couple at the table next to us asked for the fan to be turned down at one point, and were bluntly told, “No”. Which was a little odd, considering the service on the whole was quite friendly.

We ordered a couple of coffees, which took an inordinately long time to arrive, and when they did, were not fantastic. I was starting to think we should have stayed in Footscray and had ca phe sua da instead.

It was another lengthy wait – and yes, they were busy, but we’re talking around half an hour here – until our breakfast came. I ordered the avocado and tomato on sourdough, with a piggyback side order of black pudding on Ms A’s eggs on toast breakfast.

The avocado and tomato were wonderfully fresh, but the toast was incredibly hard. Peering over at the kitchen, the reason why was immediately obvious. A stack of toast was sitting by the grill, waiting to be plated. As it was busy, it probably wasn’t sitting there for that long, but then again, it did take half an hour for our food to arrive… There was also an unfortunate piece of avocado skin in the dish, which is a small thing, but not adding anything positive to my first impression.

Ms A ordered poached eggs with mushrooms – the chunk of black pudding on the plate was quickly relocated to my plate – she also found her toast hard and difficult to cut, though her eggs were well poached.

The blood pudding, for me, was the saving grace of this breakfast visit. Full of iron-y goodness, and not shy with a bold punch of salt, I’m guessing this is a great example of black pudding. It was also studded with fatty chunks of meat, and the texture was perfect – a little coarse, yet moist, sticky and melting.

Overall, I can see why Le Chien is popular, though I’m not so sure why it’s so popular! But then a lot of decent – but not great – cafes are. I’m going to try out the other places in the Charles St strip before coming back, I think.

Le Chien on Urbanspoon

Yim Yam Thai

40 Ballarat St, Yarraville
Phone: 9687 8585

There’s something about Yarraville which is instantly charming. It might be the fact that the little village is wedged between a train line and a highway, and is pretty much a cul de sac neighbourhood that goes nowhere. As a result, there’s not a lot of traffic, and walking through the streets at night feels like you’ve stepped back a few decades in time and you’re traipsing through a little country town. So for me, it’s kind of nostalgic.

Anyway, I recently visited the Sun Theatre to go see the latest Harry Potter movie; which frankly, was something of a disappointment. Bryan came along with me, as my substitute date, after my date had rescheduled on me due to a bout of tonsillitis. In hindsight, after having had that postponed date with said gentleman, Bryan was better company anyway. But I digress. As usual.

Yim Yam is a cute little restaurant up the far end of Ballarat Street. The retro Thai paintings and album covers adorning the bright walls set a convivial tone. There’s a couple of long communal tables with benches, around which are wedged smaller tables for two. There are a couple of tables on the footpath outside as well, which would be good for summer.

The staff were a little harried throughout the whole night, but that’s more to do with the fact the place was constantly bustling while we were there.

We started off with some Thai sausage.

It was not bad, but I was expecting something less sweet and a bit spicier.

In the mood for some seafood, we ordered the pineapple seafood curry. It was certainly quite flavourful, but fell dismally short of the two chillies which the menu promised. It was really quite sweet, too. Still, not unpleasant by any means, but next time I’ll remember to ask for it to be extra hot. 

Bryan had steamed rice, but I like to have sticky rice whenever it’s available – I like the way it sticks to your ribs and leaves you full for ages – but rather disconcertingly, it arrived freshly microwaved (?) still in its plastic container!
But never mind, it’s not too hard to remove it myself. It makes you wonder, though; would it have been so hard for them to remove it in the kitchen?
We also ordered the Lao chicken salad. Now I don’t know anything about Lao food, but this looks suspiciously like a Thai Larb Gai. In any case, it was tasty and wonderfully fresh. Again, I would have preferred a little more chilli heat. Perhaps it’s just me and the way I like my Thai food.
As you can see, we enjoyed the food enough to polish it all off between the two of us (but you could hardly expect less from two such prodigious eaters, hey?).
Yim Yam has a cute little loyalty card program too, cleverly named the Khop Khun Card. (‘Khop khun kaa/krub‘ means ‘thank you’ in Thai.)

Yim Yam Thai Laos on Urbanspoon