Since moving to LA I was introduced to the Vietnamese culinary wonder of Pho. It’s similar to a chicken broth that’s brought to a boil and then fresh vegetables and thinly sliced meats are added at the last second. There are many amazing Pho joints throughout LA and I decided to try China Beach with my boss. He ordered the Pho Bo (beef) and I ended up going a different route with the Lemon Grass Chicken Curry Soup. Something about an orange soup that’s spicy and savory always catches my attention! Our server was great, the weather was nice, and the food was. . read on to find out!
Ca-Ri Ga – it’s a soup with a lemongrass chicken curry base. It had carrots and sweet potatoes. The broth was a lot lighter than I was expecting in a good way and the sweetness of the carrots and potatoes married well with the baked chicken and crunchy raw onions. The potatoes and carrots were on that perfect border between tender and mushy which gave the dish a good sense of balance. From being on this border they exuded some of their starch into the broth which gave it the sense of richness while retaining its light texture. I really enjoyed the way the chicken had texture and didn’t immediately fall apart. It’s garnished with cilantro and scallions that brighten the flavors and give each bite a clean finish. There were a couple pieces of inedible lemon grass and pieces of bay leaf but I just set them aside. For some reason the slivered onions really stood out to me in this dish as the piece that tied it all together.
Spring Rolls – fresh vegetables and chicken stuffed inside a rice paper wrapper. It had mint and shrimp also and was paired with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. It was delicious but not really too original, but when somethings done right, why change it?
The food was great, I love when a soup brings on a good sweat. So if you’re walking around in Venice checking out the shopping booths and people watching, you should take a break to eat some amazing Pho or Ca-Ri-Ga at China Beach!