In the past, every time dineLA Restaurant Week rolled around, we’d put together a menu that was most likely based around a theme. If I remember correctly, our last one was Isan vs. Lanna, meant to highlight distinguishing characteristics between northeastern and northern Thai food. I also vaguely recall one of our dineLA menus that was inspired by Manny Pacquiao. This time around, there’s no theme. Just a handful of dishes that taste really good.
Of all the offerings, I think my favorite dish might be the Hey-Ha Wings. Hey-Ha is a Thai onomatopoeia meant to describe the sound of partying. For example, if someone asked you what you did last night, you might say ‘hey-ha, sangsan, kin lao,’ meaning ‘partying, socializing, boozing.’ These wings are meant to facilitate that, hence the name. They’re not necessarily innovative, and I won’t claim that they’ll change your life or that they’re a huge revelation in any way. They’re just really good wings, especially if you’re downing a cold Beerlao.
The other thing I’m really excited about is the Khao Soi Haw. The Haw designation is a reference to the Jin Haw, or Chinese Haw people of Mae Sai, the northern-most part of Chiang Rai and the neighbor of Mae Chan, where my family is from. For the sake of context, allow me to explain that all throughout the north, whether Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, if you ask for Khao Soi, it is understood that you are referring to the fragrant, creamy and relatively mild coconut curry noodles. If you wanted the white noodles with the non-coconut, red chile broth stuff that’s topped with a dollop of what looks like bolognese sauce, you’d ask for Kanom Jin Nam Ngiew. Mae Chan, for no apparent reason other than to be contrary to the rest of the north, does this in reverse. When you say, ‘Let’s go eat some Khao Soi,’ it is understood that you want the red porky stuff, which is more prevalent. If you wanted the creamy stuff, you would have to specify, as we do here with ‘Haw.’
Khao Soi, like all curries and soups, starts with a solid made-from-scratch curry paste. The paste that we’ve made this time around is more compelling than any that we’ve made in the past, thanks to a special recipe passed along by a friend. I am not exaggerating when I say that this Khao Soi is maybe, possibly the best thing we’ve ever produced.
See you soon,