photo credit: Jakob Layman
Sri Siam Cafe
There’s an insane amount of great Thai food in LA. So when you hear about a new spot, your first question probably isn’t whether they have good food. Your question is whether the food’s better than your favorite spot around the corner from your apartment. And when it comes to Sri Siam, a family-run joint in a strip mall off the highway in North Hollywood, that answer is, unequivocally, yes. And it’s time to get in your car and go try it right now.
Sri Siam has operated in the same space since 1984. That crispy rice salad you love so much at Night+Market? Sri Siam has been doing it for decades. Papaya salad, crispy trout, boat noodles, and even Khao Soi, weren’t yet celebrity dishes in this city when Sri Siam starting cooking them. Of course, all of this would be merely fun facts if the food wasn’t as phenomenal as it is.
Any meal at Sri Siam starts with the crispy rice salad - it’s a non-negotiable. If that massive plate of rice hits the table and isn’t gone within five minutes, you clearly have a level of restraint we’ve never known. Crunchy, salty, spicy, sort of sweet, with accompanying leaves of lettuce to scoop it all into your mouth - it’s pretty much perfect. There’s also the khao soi, the panang curry, the spicy chicken wings, and that crispy trout. All are tremendous and should be ordered. However, the best thing here isn’t even on the menu. Ask the waitstaff for the radish cakes and out will come a beautiful heap of fried radishes mixed with scrambled eggs and crispy bean sprouts and all will be right in the world.
Not to have to worry about snagging a reservation or dressing to impress to have some of the best Thai food in the city is a sweet relief. This is a restaurant you go to simply because you love great Thai food - and you’re willing to drive past that spot around the corner from your apartment to get it.
Crispy Rice Salad
An original, a classic, and something you need in your life immediately. Don’t even come here if you don’t plan on ordering this.
If you look on the menu for these babies, you won’t find them. But ask your waitress for them, and they’ll happily cook up a batch. Deep fried to perfection and mixed in with scrambled eggs, this is actually the best thing served at Sri Siam.
Definitely the best of their curries and a must for the table. When they say spicy here, they mean spicy.
Pad Prik King Chicken Wings
You’re going to have your hands full with those radish cakes and the crispy rice salad for appetizers, but if you have any more room, get these wings. They’re salty and sweet and a good option if you need a break from the spice in the other dishes.
Curry broth with noodles mixed in. We’ve said once and we’ll say it again - always order the khao soi.
Pad Se Ew
If there was one dish we would pass on, it’d be this. It’s not terrible by any means, we just wish there was a bit more sauce and flavor.