East Hollywood: Northern Thai Food Club
When both the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine post about a new Thai restaurant, you pay attention. In a non-descriptive strip mall in East Hollywood/ Thai Town, is the new Northern Thai Food Club. It’s a homey spot and I suppose that is what is surprising to people- that food can be so good in a crowded strip mall with another recognizable Thai food player (Pa Ord).
I was just not prepared when I looked at the menu and gazed upon the steam table to order right away. I wanted to soak it all in but at the same time, I wanted to eat! Since it was just the two of us, I felt I was very restrained in ordering only five dishes.
I got the khao soi which is now touted as the best Northern Thai noodles in the city. The curry is amazing. You have a choice of chicken or pork which I didn’t even specify. The chicken legs were fall-off-the-bone tender. I had leftovers the next day and the flavored had deepened even more.
I’ve had plenty of green papaya salads in my life but I had never seen mango salad. Northern Thai Food Club has both so I decided mango was the way to go. I really enjoyed the peanuts and the spice does creep up on you. Every bite was good but so painful by the end of my meal.
I went over to the steam table to take a look at the offerings. I accepted a taste of the larb and once I had it, I was hooked. I have never been a larb fan but I had one of those epiphanies. This is how larb should be! I loved all the bits of offal including liver and intestine. It was so savory and we were given some raw cabbage and sticky rice. I could have just shoveled it all in without the benefit of a vehicle to bring that delicious larb to my mouth. After eating it for a bit, it reminded me of sisig (Filipino pig face – it’s drinking food) but more of what you can cook when you eat everything from an animal. This is truly nose to tail eating.
A note on sticky rice- I’ve never quite knew how to eat it other than with your hands. I know some people just tear off bits and occasionally dip into their food. Lately I’ve been making a rather thick chip by squishing a large thumb sized piece. I then scooped a bit of larb onto it. Though I did try to pinch some on with my “chip” but that proved more difficult (yes, I was channeling injera or naan at this point).
We were encouraged to get the sausage. I enjoyed it and I know without asking these must have been homemade. I felt the love.
For my friend, I got the jackfruit since he is not much of a meat eater. Surprise, surprise, the jackfruit came with pork! Like the chicken in the khao soi, the pork ribs were so tender.
I will be back very soon to try other things and will have a better game plan. However, this was a wonderful meal during our first go at it.
Northern Thai Food Club
5301 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027 — (323) 474-7212
© 2019 The Minty