If you stumble into almost any of the restaurants in Hollywood’s Thai Town and order pad thai, papaya salad, and some curry, you’re most likely going to be served a tasty meal. It’s like a Steve Carrell movie - you’ll probably walk out satisfied.
But sometimes you want something more than pretty good. You want something exceptional, without having to empty your wallet at one of the higher-end places. You want a Daniel Day-Lewis caliber feast. In this case, we’d steer you towards Hoy-Ka, a family run noodle shop on Sunset Blvd.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: The parking situation is often atrocious. The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol. And the service is often sluggish during peak dinner service.
Now that we’ve gotten through that, here’s the good news: the food is special enough that it eclipses those negatives. The space is big, with rustic exposed beams, some intentionally unfinished wood walls, and a couple mounted flat-screens usually tuned to ESPN. The whole thing feels like you’re in your well-traveled uncle’s man-cave above his garage.
If parking is giving you the middle finger, another piece of good news is that Hoy-Ka’s takeout operation is terrific, and prices are low enough that you’ll feel free to order as many dishes as you want (maybe even for your later-in-the-week needs). Community reminder: This is Thai Town, so be wary of spice level in your order. One confident “make it spicy!” later and you’ll be sweating it out on your couch like it’s the start of the zombie apocalypse and you hate running.
Hoy-Ka is one of your best bets in Thai Town - and you deserve it. Nobody wants to sit through another Dinner For Schmucks.
This simple dish is a high-wire balancing act between sweet, spicy and savory flavors. Ground meat is stir-fried with holy basil, slivers of green beans, and red bell peppers, topped off with a fried egg. We’d go with the ground pork or the fried chunks of crispy pork.
Sure, you’d be happy with the pad thai (BTW,better than Krua Thai’s legendary version), but Hoy- Ka’s pad see ew is the plate of noodles you want.
When this dish landed on our table, we thought we’d been served a boring plate of sliced pork and Chinese broccoli. Until we tasted it. Holy whoa… Yeah, we housed it. The pork gets marinated in lime juice and fish sauce before being grilled then topped off with minced garlic, and the result is both refreshing and decadent.
Hoy-Ka’s signature soup is a fragrant chicken broth with either pork or chicken. Order it medium spicy with thin rice noodles, and it’ll cure what ails you. If you happen to crave more of an earthy funk in your bowl, they also offer boat noodles, which come in a dark, murky broth.
More flavorful than the other curries here, the green curry with bamboo shoots is true comfort food. Order a side of sticky rice or vermicelli noodles.
A nice, if slightly unremarkable, version of the Thai standard. If you order this papaya salad mild, it’s a nice reprieve from the spicier dishes on the table.
If you have an adventurous palate that beckons you to venture outside your comfort zone, this very pungent fish curry is worth trying. Otherwise, you’re better off steering clear. We thought we hated it, but then couldn’t stop eating it. We might not order this every time we hit up Hoy-Ka in the future, but we’re glad we tried it.