The 10 best Thai restaurants in LA, according to Jet Tila
Not just the ONLY judge on the Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, LA-based celeb Chef Jet Tila is also recognized by the Royal Thai Consulate-General as the "Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine" -- which, in short, is why we asked for his picks for the best Thai food in LA. Here's what he sent us...
Sapp Coffee Shop (click here for address and deets)
Hollywood; Los Feliz
This small, hole-in-the-wall "coffee shop" is a longtime hidden treasure; lots of people looking for supreme authenticity go for their Boat Noodle Soup (thickened with... whoa... blood), but the Jade Noodles are far more approachable and equally delicious (it's a huge bowl of carb-bombs topped w/ roast pork, shredded crab, and cilantro). Pro tip from Jet: "Never miss the homemade Thai tea and iced coffee -- and the little known Pandanus iced tea."
Isaan Station (click here for address and deets)
Jet says he hits this spot for traditional dishes from the Northeastern part of Thailand, which means charcoal-grilled pork and perfectly balanced "larb", a type of Lao minced-meat salad.
Ruen Pair (click here for address and deets)
Hollywood; Los Feliz
The papaya salad's orderable in four different ways, and if you're adventurous, you can also get it with raw crab. Other Jet menu-picks? Crispy pork jerky, the spicy basil roast duck, and "Morning Glory", a leaf vegetable popular in Southeast Asian cuisines that can be illegal to grow, import, possess, or sell without a permit in the US, because it's a "Federal Noxious Weed". AKA: awesome.
Rodded (click here for address and deets)
Another hole-in-the-wall spot, this one's notable for its hard-to-find-elsewhere spicy duck soup, which's insanely flavorful and loaded with wontons.
Yai (click here for address and deets)
"All the pan-fried noodles are amazing here -- and they have the best pork belly in Thai town," says Jet, who especially recommends the Pad Thai cousin, Pad See Ew.
Siam Sunset (click here for address and deets)
Jet says this kinda-sketchy-looking-but-actually-totally-amazing motel diner (?!) is the only legit Thai breakfast house in the city. Start your day with their rice porridge topped with pork and a cracked egg, or an order of fluffy, fried Chinese donuts.
Pa Ord (click here for address and deets)
They actually invented putting noodles in the spicy, lemongrass-laden Tom Yum soup, according to Jet. So get that, plus the Chinese broccoli with pork belly and fried egg, which's kind of a no-brainer order on any menu, ever.
Jitlada (click here for address and deets)
The Southern-Thai menu's monstrous, but Jet says the best dish is the Celebrity Chicken: stir-fried crispy chicken topped with fried basil. Also: be ready to drink lots of beer -- the food here's crazy-flavorful, and also crazy-spicy.
Spicy BBQ (click here for address and deets)
This teeny, tiny place takes rezzies and is BYOB, so get on that. Jet says to hit their special Northern menu, and that the Khao Soi -- aka Thai curry noodles with beef -- are "just like Grandma used to make." He also recommends the Naprik Ong, aka ground pork w/ tomato chili dip.
Bhan Kanom (click here for address and deets)
Notable mostly for desserts, which range from fried bananas to taro and corn fritters, Jet says not to miss their roasted coconut milk, either.
Jeff Miller is Thrillist LA's Senior City Editor and will always order Tom Kha soup when it's available. You can follow him at @thrillistla on Twitter or @jeffmillerla on Instagram.