There is no shortage of tongue-singeing spots in Thaitown, and Nong Sriyana’s Spicy BBQ measures up with the best of ’em. The Astronomer, Mom, and I stopped in for a low-key dinner prior to catching a show at the Pantages. Thai food and musicals—that’s how we do.
We came for the house-special Northern Thai offerings, which are listed toward the back of the cheery, spiral-bound menu. Every dish was helpfully accompanied by a photo. Using a 2008 write up by Jonathan Gold as my guide, I ordered too much food as usual. My dining mates never seem to mind.
Dinner started off with a sweat-inducing bang! The nam prik num, a smoky, spicy, and undeniably addictive “dip” made from roasted chilies, burned so, so good. To balance the flavors and heat, we dug in carefully and with plenty of sticky rice and fresh vegetable crudites. If you like pleasure spiked with pain, this dish is for you.
The pork patties, with their exteriors crisp and caramelized, arrived garnished with a double punch of deep-fried garlic and mint. The gentler flavors here were a must following the aggressively seasoned nam prik num.
Turning up the heat just a touch was the “Spicy Jackfruit Salad,” a heap of young, stringy fruit with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.
And finally, a warm and creamy bowl of khao soi to soothe our palates.
Pickled mustard greens, limes, and diced raw onions were on hand to garnish the egg noodles in a smooth curry broth. More pickles and limes were brought to the table at our request. If taste memory serves me right, this bowl didn’t move me quite as much as Pailin‘s did, but that’s not to say that this version wasn’t completely solid.
My Thai food cravings can swing one of two ways: familiar or funky. Whenever I desire something more complex than my usual pad Thai, Spicy BBQ fits the bill just right.
Spicy BBQ Restaurant
5101 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Thaitown, my town: