Flavor Bursting Thai Food

Thai Food Valley Village
Ka nom jeen nam ngiew is a rarely seen Thai dish. [Joshua Lurie]

Regional Thai cooking has become an increasingly popular part of L.A. life thanks to restaurants like Jitlada and Night + Market. In the Valley, Chiang Mai Urban Thai Kitchen is one of your best bets, a family-run Valley Village restaurant that specializes in northern Thai dishes.

The menu resembles what Inthanon Thai served, including a remarkable eight different versions of khao soi, the famed northern Thai coconut curry noodle soup topped with a crispy egg noodle nest. Variable proteins include chicken drumstick, crispy pork, shrimp, tofu or sai oua—Northern-style Thai sausage.

Ka nom jeen nam ngiew—spicy vermicelli noodle soup—is also exceptional. Spicy tomato broth is chock-full of ground pork, pork spare ribs, pork blood cubes, tomato and garlic. Bombax ceiba flowers from a cotton tree are imported from Thailand, dried and form the backbone of this rich, boldly flavored bowl.

Vivid blue anchan drink is made with butterfly pea (grown in the owners’ backyard) and supposedly helps boost your immune system and blood circulation. Honey adds welcome sweetness to the floral beverage. Squeeze lime for acidity and to stain the drink purple. Chaing Main Urban Thai Kitchen also features anchan in bright blue sticky rice that’s available with a choice of custard or mango—when in season. In a customized version of Muhammad Ali’s words, “Float like a butterfly (pea), sting like a bee.”

12510 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village, 818-763-9877