I found myself in Southern California last week for a work conference. And what’s a trip to So Cal without a stop in Thai Town?
I was initially thinking that it’d be nice to stop by one of my favorite restaurants and perhaps pick up some Thai desserts to bring back for the boyfriend who, sadly, wasn’t able to join me on this trip. But somehow my plan for a quick pit stop in Thai Town turned into a full-fledged — breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND dessert — stop in Thai Town.
Luckily, a good friend agreed to join me on this all-day Thai food adventure! After stepping off the airplane early in the morning, we headed straight to Siam Sunset for breakfast.
I decided to start with rice porridge with pork (jok moo), a simple dish of broken rice cooked to creamy perfection and served with pork, fish sauce, and green onions with ginger and ground white pepper for subtle spiciness. I also enjoyed Chinese donuts (patongko) served with sweetened condensed milk on the side. This was, for me, the perfect way to ease into a whole day of eating.
My friend, on the other hand, decided to dive right in and have boat noodle soup (guay teow rua) for breakfast! I was so proud of her for ordering this delicious soup, even after I mentioned that the broth is traditionally flavored with fresh pork or beef blood…
After giving our stomachs a little time to rest after breakfast, we moved on to Bhan Khanom Thai to pick up some mid-morning snacks. I dutifully bought the boyfriend’s favorite Thai cookies to bring home, but my friend and I also enjoyed some freshly made treats including Thai crepes (khanom buang) and coconut custard cups (khanom krok).
After fully exploring the dessert shop, it was just about time for lunch! So we walked down the street to Sapp Coffee House.
My friend was so impressed with the boat noodles she had eaten for breakfast, we decided to get another bowl to share for lunch! This bowl of noodles had more meat and offal than the previous version, but could have used a little more lime and heat to give that awesome burst of flavor that makes this soup so special. That said, it was a delicious bowl of soup that wasn’t too hard on our already pretty full tummies.
After lunch we had a little time to kill, so the afternoon was spent walking around, exploring shops and groceries, in an attempt to rest our stomachs and make room for dinner. Because, yes, I also had big plans for dinner! After hearing about Night+Market, Kris Yenbamroong’s restaurant that specializes in Northern Thai street food, I knew I had to try it when given the opportunity.
We started with my favorite Northern Thai sausage, sai oua, which was packed with kaffir lime leaves and other herbs. It was served with a side of roasted young chili dip (nam prik noom) and the two went together beautifully. I couldn’t have been happier!
I was also really happy to see hor ab, a dish of fatty pork steamed in banana leaves, on their menu. Ab is one of the boyfriend’s absolute favorite dishes from Chiang Mai. In fact, the last time we were in Thailand, he ordered a double serving of this dish for lunch one day, risking how this might appear to some of his old childhood friends… That says a lot about how much he loves this dish!
We’ve never seen ab on a menu before in the States, so of course I had to order it and enjoy it myself. Perhaps if I were a better girlfriend, I would learn to make it for him… Instead, I sent photos :)
And finally, we finished off the night with khao soi nam ngieow, a noodle dish topped with a tomato- and pork-based sauce, pickled mustard greens, and lime, as well as some much-needed vegetables in the form of som tam. By this point, I think my friend and I were so stuffed that it was hard to appreciate these dishes to their fullest!
All in all, it was an absolutely delicious day in Thai Town. My friend and I left feeling extremely full, yet satisfied. And after seeing these photos, the boyfriend can’t wait for our next trip down to Southern California!