Bruce's Blog

a handful of dimes and a jukebox

Spicy BBQ1For today’s adventure in eating, I chose a Thai restaurant, but one with a unique twist.  It’s one of the few Thai restaurants in town whose specialization is in Northern Thai cuisine.  Northern Thailand has been historically somewhat isolated from the rest of the country.  They have their own dialect called Kham Meaung (or Kham Muang; คำเมือง).  Some remote hill tribes have their own language.  However, standard Thai is widely understood.

The cuisine of Northern Thai has been influenced by it’s neighbors to the north, Myanmar (Burma) and Yunnan (China).  The coconut milk curry base we are so accustomed to in standard Thai cuisine is not part of Northern Thai vocabulary.

I went to “Spicy BBQ” at the corner of Santa Monica and Normandie, right on the border of “Little Armenia”.  Their menu says, “Thai & Chinese Cuisine by Nong and Family”.   It has the feel of a family-owned place.  It’s small.  There are 6 tables with seating for 18.   It’s cash only, but this seems like not much of a hassle with the ubiquity of ATM machines these days.  It’s tucked away in a corner strip-mall — easy to miss, but well worth looking for.

Spicy BBQ2

I was really anxious to try the Northern Thai Glass Noodle, because I’m planning on making Korean glass noodles at home tomorrow, and I want to see what the Thai version is like.  But the waitress recommended very strongly that I try the Nothern Thai Curry.  I kind of imagined that it’d just be Thai curry without the coconut milk.  Boy, was I wrong.

It was like eating curry for the first time.  It felt like every other curry I’ve ever had was just dead.  Long live the curry!  The range of tastes was amazing; spicy, but not what you would call hot; complex, but open and welcoming; unquestionably Asian flavors — but was that cinnamon that I tasted?   This is a beef curry with big chunks of ginger.  I don’t know if that’s for everyone, but I loved it.  And holy cow, entire cloves of garlic.  In fact, I found half a garlic head , garlic cloves still bound together in my curry (pictured right).  I can leave my Home Vampire Capture Kit put away tonight, no self-respecting vampire is going to come anywhere near me.  Fortunately, my wife and garlic are old friends. 🙂

I’ll definitely be going back to Spicy BBQ!

Spicy BBQ
5101 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Categories: My Thursday Lunch, Thai

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