Kung Fu Thai & Chinese Restaurant isn’t the best Thai restaurant in town, but it’s far from the worst (recently, that would be Krung Siam directly across the street).
But we at ELV like it because their version of “medium hot” (or #5 on a 1-10 scale) is blow-your-off-head-slap-my-ass-and-call-me-Sally-hot.
And they make a mean yen ta fo — that rice noodles in red fish soup concoction that came to Thailand from China and found a home among that Thailand’s storied noodle soups. Fish balls are essential ingredients, but we like this version for its big, firm shrimp and scored squid, that share the bowl with a spicy-sweet-vinegary broth.
The braised pork shank is also a winner — heavy with the scent of 5 spice powder — and the squid salad is one of the best versions around (although, once again, heavily coated with chilies to the point where most gaijin can’t take it above a 2-3 on the 1-10 scale).
The funny part about Kung Fu is, it’s usually packed with loads of folks there for their cheap, Chinese lunch specials. Look around the room and you see precious few fellow travelers getting the good stuff. Truth be told, we’d eaten here several times before, and dismissed it as a mediocre restaurant until we were clued in to look for the offbeat Thai dishes.
They’ve also cleaned it up and put some new furniture in lately, removing the dowdiness that defined the joint for many years.
We still think Archi’s and Lotus of Siam kick its Thai patootey, but in a pinch, and when you’ve got a yen for some yen ta fo….Kung Fu will fill the bill, Grasshopper.
KUNG FU THAI & CHINESE RESTAURANT
3505 South Valley View Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89103