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Five Spots to Get Khao Soi This Winter

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[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap] appreciate a meal that is rich in duality: soupy, but also hard and crunchy. Creamy, but with moments of tartness. Smooth, but also chewy. When it comes to flavor, texture, freshness, and taste, khao soi contains multitudes. The northern Thai soup-noodle dish is made with coconut milk and laden with chewy boiled noodles, your choice of meat or tofu, and topped with crunchy fried noodles and cilantro. Alongside you’ll likely find a plate of garnishes including red onions, pickled mustard greens, and lime. As the temperatures continue going downward, only warm, comforting bowls of khao soi will do for dinner. Soup weather isn’t around forever, Angelenos. Let’s make the most of it.

Northern Thai Food Club

All photos by Virali Dave.
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Located in a Thai town strip mall, Northern Thai is like eating in your grandmother’s living room, if your grandmother cooks amazing Thai food and welcomes a bunch of strangers into her home. Paper plates and plastic cutlery make each meal feel reminiscent of a big family get-together, and the small space is cozy and inviting. At $7 for most dishes, including the khao soi, you can’t go wrong. Options for khao soi include chicken or beef. While most dishes at Northern Thai Food Club are spicy, the khao soi feels milder in comparison, though far from bland. The broth is thick and well-seasoned with red chili sauce, and the flat egg noodles are fresh, soft, and chewy. Our group also got a big plate of watermelon on the house at the end of our meal. 

5301 Sunset Blvd #11. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Chiang Mai Thai Kitchen

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Chiang Mai Thai Kitchen is adorable. When you see beautiful paper lanterns and string lights, minimalist dishware, and Mason jar mugs you expect a neo-hipster aesthetic, but Chiang Mai couldn’t be farther from that. The restaurant feels homey and unassuming, and the servers are all kind and welcoming. Their khao soi is large and served in an even larger bowl, which seems to give the dish the space and attention it deserves. The rich broth is creamy and topped with fresh coconut milk, and includes a generous serving of crunchy noodles and perfectly chewy boiled noodles. Options here are plentiful and veg-friendly, and include shrimp, drumstick, white meat, beef, vegetable, crispy pork, and tofu. Don’t forget to try their Thai green tea or delicious sticky rice.

12510 Burbank Blvd. Valley Village, CA 91607

Spicy BBQ

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When it comes to Spicy BBQ, it’s all in the name. Expect Thai BBQ, and expect it to be sinus-clearing. Another cozy strip mall spot, Spicy BBQ offers khao soi with meat or tofu. The broth at Spicy BBQ is maybe the best I’ve had it is thick but not as thick as a curry, and its flavors are dynamic and rich in texture. The boiled noodles taste fresh, and the fried noodles stay crispy. The tofu in my bowl was also fresh, soft, and flavorful, and like the bowl of khao soi at Chiang Mai, a small pour of coconut milk atop the bowl kept everything creamy and rich. The bowl at Spicy BBQ didn’t come with as many toppings as some of the other places, but nothing felt like it was missing; instead, the strength of the broth was able to have the attention it deserved.

5101 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90029

Jitlada

Jitlada, a classic L.A. restaurant, has been around since the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the current family came into ownership of the restaurant. Khao soi is only one of 400 or so dishes served at Jitlada, but it is a strong one, with flavors that are sure to linger on your tongue and in your mind long after you leave the restaurant’s doors. Order with any meat or tofu. Unless you go during off-peak hours, expect to wait a bit for your food; know the wait will be worth it.

5233 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Night + Market Song

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Night + Market and Night + Market Song are big L.A. favorites. The ambiance is hip and eclectic, fitting for the West Hollywood and Silver Lake locations. Options for khao soi include tofu and jon shimeji mushrooms, or braised short rib. Their vegetarian khao soi jay is heavy on the turmeric and soupy; expect a thin broth rather than a thick, curry-esque texture. The boiled noodles are plentiful and thin rather than chewy, and there are no crispy noodles atop. You might miss that added texture, along with a bit more broth in your bowl. Khao soi at Night + Market also comes with all fixings already on top, rather than alongside the dish: pickled mustard greens, red onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, and chili jam. 

3322 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

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