Restaurant: Northern Thai Food Club
Location: 5301 Sunset Blvd #11, Los Angeles, CA 90027. (323) 474-7212
Date: January 17, 2020
Cuisine: Northern Thai
Rating: Small Space, Big Taste
Asian Food Friday is always a good opportunity to try out some of the oddball and amazing corners of Los Angeles eating.
Which brings us to Amphai, or Northern Thai Food Club, which has been on my “to try” list for some time. Supposedly this is some of the best and most authentic Northern Thai in the country. It’s on a grungy Sunset corner in Thai Town.
And the interior is tiny. The staff appear to be family and are extremely friendly. Service is casual and all on disposable plates with the flimsiest of plasticware. On entering the thick pungent smell of fish sauce blankets the air and informs you that this is the “real deal.”
Much of the food is on display in a big deli/steam table — including the amazing Norther Thai Sausage (that looks like something a large dog might leave in the yard).
They also sell some random Thai snacks.
The menu is surprisingly long.
Som Tum Thai. Papaya Salad. Salted Crab Flavor. Green Papaya with Thai chilies, tomatoes, dried shrimp, green beans, fish sauce, lime jices and salted crab. Bright flavor with a hint of fishiness.
Spicy green laxative — I mean chili sauce — awesome complex flavor and hearty burn.
Sai Qua. Northern Spices Pork Sausage. Ground pork marinated with herbs and spices. Tons of flavor, very soft texture.
Cabbage and sticky rice.
Moo Sam Chan Tod. Fried Pork Belly. Deep fried pork belly. Tasty, particularly with the green sauce.
Larb Moo Kija. Minced pork northern spices salad. Pan-fried minced pork, liver pork, skin pork with fresh mint leaves, in Northern spices. Tons and tons of flavor. Interesting fishy and livery notes.
Gaeng Hang Lae. Northern pork curry. Stewed pork in Thai-Burmese curry powder and tamarind paste with ginger root. Very tender meat and lots and lots of flavor.
Gaeng Khanoon. Jackfruit soup. Spicy soup of young jackfruit chunks, Chaom leaves (Acacia) and pork ribs seasoned with tomato and garlic.
Yum Nor Nam Poo. Bamboo shoots with crab paste. Bamboo shoots with Thai chili, limes, fish sauce and crab paste juices. Lots of fiber and a very different funky flavor. Probably my least favorite dish, but still tasty and interesting. Plus it has “poo” in the name.
Kao Soi Gai. Curry egg noodle with chicken. Seasoned chicken drumstick curried with flat egg noodles, topped with crispy noodle and served with sour mustard green, shallot, lime, and thick red chili sauce.
Condiments for the Kao Soi.
Kao Soi Nua. Curry egg noodle with beef. Seasoned chicken curried with flat egg noodles, topped with crispy noodle and served with sour mustard green, shallot, lime, and thick red chili sauce.
More condiments for the Kao Soi.
With the toppings.
Special of vermicelli and jackfruit and I don’t know what. Mushy texture but tasty.
Sample of something with jackfruit. Sour, but tasty too.
A kind of strong pork curry. Very strong “bay leaf”? flavor sauce. Tasty.
Sour pork rib soup. I think Jor Pak Pung. Ceylon spinach in tamarind soup with cut pork ribs.
The kitchen is tiny.
The shelves on the way to the rest room are loaded with Thai products.
And the bathroom includes its own glamorous strapped water heater — clearly not going anywhere!
Overall, this place is legit. Not your suburban strip-mall Thai by any means. Eating here on the tiny plastic stools makes you think of a little hangout in Chiang Mai. Nearly every dish is $7. Very unusual flavors, and quite spicy, but if you can handle all that well worth the trip.
After, we felt we needed some authentic Thai desserts to quench the burn.
Inside this crowded shop.
Pandan pudding being made fresh.
Pandan custard pudding. Super thick, creamy, mild in flavor but hit the spot.
Ultra light crispy crepes with coconut cream (crispy) and either yellow mango (sweet) or curry (orange)
Mystery in a banana leaf.
Delicious hot fried rice and coconut balls.
All sorts of yummy stuff.