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Kim Thai, North Hollywood

Located deep within the La Fiesta Indoor Swap Meet in North Hollywood is a bit of a surprise - some legit Northern Thai on a full-featured menu.  All Streets Gourmand has been eager to try this for some time - it coming up on a variety of searches.

We were ready to eat, ordering the Yum No 1, the Esan Sausage, and a side of white Sticky Rice.  The Yum was medium-heat pork knuckles, loaded with fresh aromatics.  The esan was as it should be, fresh, sweet, and perfect with rice.  The ubiquitous, but above par, beef skewer.  The Tom Sapp, a pork rib soup with a Tom Yum-like base, was also medium heat.  The slow burn did not disappoint.

You’d have to believe that part of Kim Thai’s charm would be in part to its (very Los Angeles) location, nestled in a nondescript indoor mall in the northern reaches of North Hollywood. Despite its unassuming setting, this small Thai restaurant boasts a passionately replete survey of Northern Thai dishes, likewise unassumingly prepared.

AllStreetsGourmand stumbled upon Kim Thai due in part to a recommendation from Atlas Obscura. We’ve also seen it pop up several times when doing the standard ‘search this area’ when we’re up this next of the woods. Eventually, curiosity won out and we were not disappointed.

The restaurant is tucked away at the very back of the La Fiesta Indoor Swap Meet. Like many in Los Angeles or Orange Counties, the building is an eclectic mix of vendors, including a Chinese herbalist, clothing, jewelry, and a top-tier Thai restaurant.

With only a handful of tables, seating will be limited, especially during peak times. I guess this adds to the quirky, cozy intimacy. If the tables are occupied, consider taking your meal to-go and enjoying it elsewhere, we guess…although Thai food is best enjoyed fresh. Give yourself ample time to try and snag a table and eat there—the owner is so sweet and adds to the experience. Her warm hospitality and genuine interest in our thoughts add to the experience.

Our intrepid guide knew right away that Kim Thai was a cuisine of the Northern variety, renowned for its bold and spicy flavors. Heeding the advice of our guide, I opted for medium-spice. I was absolutely delighted by the fiery kick of the dishes - both our soup and protein entrees were deliciously flavorful, with a perfect burn.

We had the Tom Sapp (medium heat), Esan sausage with a side of sticky rice, Yum No 1 (pork knuckle - medium heat), pork skewer, Thai tea, and Thai coffee.

Tom Sapp is a delicious pork rib soup similar to Tom Yum. Many of the ingredients are tangy and citrusy, and chilies are added to achieve that nice burn. I must have esan sausage with sticky rice whenever I can—the sweet umami of the sausage perfectly combines. Yum No 1 is bits of pork knuckle, expertly mixed with aromatics and vegetables—the mint, garlic, and peppers awaken the mind.

As was our experience, if you have questions, the owner is very willing to answer them—definitely try and get her take before ordering. We make this a practice and are hardly disappointed. We washed this down with a combination of Thai tea and coffee. It went down perfectly!

Once the meal is over, there isn't much to do on-site besides browsing the nearby shops. But, the main event here is the food stand.

Kim Thai offers a quirky, yet traditional, Thai dining experience in the periphery of Los Angeles. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth checking out. For more information, visit Please like and subscribe!

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