If you have ever poked your head into a restaurant serving northern Thai cooking, you have probably encountered nam prik oom, a slippery mash made from roasted hot chiles pounded in a mortar, a black-flecked green substance customarily scooped up with a pinch of sticky rice formed into a crude ball. At Spicy BBQ, a northern Thai restaurant in Little Armenia, nam prik oom is bountiful. It feeds multitudes. A few spoonfuls are powerful enough to transform two quarts of chicken soup, should there be any leftovers to take home, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it had secondary uses as a healing balm or a cure for nagging sinus infections. Chef-owner Nong Sriyana prepares what is probably the definitive version of khao soi in Los Angeles, the emblematic northern-Thai dish of egg noodles in a dense, spicy chicken-coconut broth, garnished with a big handful of delicately fried egg noodles, served with diced red onions and crunchy homemade pickles. You may be warned away from the other northern-style noodle dish, a plate of garlic-sprinkled rice noodles served with a delicious, herb-intensive pottage of ground pork, spare ribs and little cubes of blood, but the taste is less fearsome than the appearance. See full review.
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