1520 W Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92868
Taking more advice from Dan over at EatInOC, I decided to go down to Cha Thai to try their food. Dan insists that their food is far superior to my favorite Thai place, Thai Lingo. I visited Cha Thai on a Saturday night with the couple that usually eats with us at Thai Lingo. We had no trouble getting in to the restaurant around 7:30 PM. The restaurant was almost empty.
We looked over the menu and saw most of the standard Thai dishes. There was an article posted in the front window from the OC Weekly, talking about the Tom Kha Chicken soup here. I decided to give it a try and ordered a bowl for myself ($4.50). The rest of the meal we decided to order family style. We really wanted to compare this pace to Thai Lingo, so we ordered dishes that were similar to our favorites there. We ordered the Spicy Thai noodles with beef($7.50), Spicy Thai Fried Rice with pork ($7.50), Garlic Beef ($8.50) and Veggie Green Curry ($6.50). We ordered all of our dishes "extra spicy." I asked the waitress if there was a scale of spiciness we could choose from, but she said no.
The first to arrive was my bowl of Tom Kha Chicken soup. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've had Thai soups before, but I don't think I've ever had this particular soup before. I took a big spoonful and put it in my mouth. POW! It was like a sour citrus fruit kicking you in the crotch while a can of coconut milk is hurled at your neck! BANG! ZIP! BOOM! YUM!!!!!! The flavor of this soup was strong, but addicting. My wife tried some as well and exclaimed, "Whoa! That's weird!" She then proceeded to take about 10 more bites. I would definitely order this soup again.
Next up was the Garlic Beef. The garlic beef was similar to Thai Lingo's. Strips of beef were pan fried with some soy sauce, garlic, white pepper and spices. It wasn't bad, but the beef was pretty tough.
The Spicy Thai Noodles were also pretty good. However, they weren't that spicy. They were stir fried with vegetables, beef and basil.
The Spicy Thai Fried rice, again wasn't very spicy to me. This is really odd because Thai food is usually pretty spicy. When you order it "extra spicy," it's usually spicy enough to singe your nosehairs. Now don't get me wrong, the food was spicy. It was probably even "too spicy" for people that can't handle spicy food. Since I really enjoy super spicy Thai food though, the spice level was very disappointing.
I didn't try any of the green curry. My wife and the other female we were with said that it was pretty good, but both of them much preferred Thai Lingo's green curry.
It is not a secret that people have different tastes in food. Some people can love a dish, while others hate it. I did not like Cha Thai as much as I like Thai Lingo, but I can definitely see why Dan likes it. I would consider Cha Thai to be a good backup if Thai Lingo is closed, or if I'm closer to Cha Thai and I don't want to drive. For the most part though, I think I'll stick with Thai Lingo. The other three people with me agree.