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10 Best Eats in Thai Town: Neighborhood Grub Crawl

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Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 1:09 PM

click to enlarge Som Tam at Krua Siri - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Som Tam at Krua Siri
Some call it East Hollywood, but many more know it as Thai Town, a glowing, neon causeway of great late-night restaurants, karaoke bars and slingers of Chang beer towers. It's an area of town that not only welcomes after-hours consumption but glorifies it --- filled with brimming bowls of pungent noodle soup, plump fried shrimp balls and spicy salads made with a laundry list of exotic ingredients. Here's a rundown of our favorite places to eat in Thai Town.

click to enlarge Crispy Pork at Crispy Pork Gang - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • Crispy Pork at Crispy Pork Gang

10. Crispy Pork Gang:

The fried pork dish known as moo tod is a staple at many late-night Thai diners in Hollywood, including a few located in the same strip mall as Crispy Pork Gang. But the cubes of pork belly, crunchy as croutons, are the best here. You can have them served in myriad ways -- tossed in fried rice or crispy rice salad, in soup or mixed with funky cured duck eggs. But the most popular way to order the famous pork might be wok-seared with a sauce redolent of red chile and garlic, along with some long, slippery strands of sauteed morning glory. The lightness of the morning glory cuts the heaviness of the pork beautifully, making for a balanced dish that's among our favorites. 5253 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; 323-465-9796.

click to enlarge Tom Yum at Siam Sunset - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Tom Yum at Siam Sunset

9. Siam Sunset:

Attached to the Hollywood Value Inn is this small, L-shaped coffee shop, which might resemble any other greasy spoon if not for the selection of Chinese-Thai breakfast dishes scrawled, in Thai, on the far wall. Breakfast of champions: fresh-fried Chinese doughnuts dipped in condensed milk, tofu pudding with ginger syrup, and jok, rice porridge with slices of preserved egg. It's all available at rock-bottom prices, ensuring your early-morning fill-up leaves you with plenty of lunch and dinner funds. 5265 Sunset Blvd., L.A.; 323-467-8935.

click to enlarge Kannom-Krok at Bhan Kanom Thai - FLICKR/NOMSNOTBOMBS

8. Bhan Kanom Thai:

Tucked inside New Hollywood Plaza, across from Ruen Pair and Crispy Pork Gang, is Thai Town's premier sweet shop. The walls are lined with a plethora of multicolored ingredients and treats, plus a cooler case in back stocked with mung bean puddings and bright fruit-studded gelatins. The best items are those that can be snatched up from under the rows of heat lamps up front, including the creamy little coconut spheres called kanom krok, succulent taro cakes flavored with corn and coconut, and crispy crepes folded and stuffed with custard, known colloquially as "Thai tacos." 5271 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; 323-871-8030.

click to enlarge Pad See Eew at Sanamluang - N. GALUTEN
  • N. Galuten
  • Pad See Eew at Sanamluang

7. Sanamluang Cafe:

A large sign near the front of this colorful establishment promises "the best noodles in town." If you've tried the pad thai or pad-see-ew, two Thai restaurant staples enlivened with a bracing zap of umami, you're likely to agree with that claim. Don't forgot the big, comforting bowls of chicken soup, flavored with roasted garlic, Chinese broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. Ideal for a rainy night. 5176 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; 323-660-8006.

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