Alex Sonbalee hails from northern Thailand and wife Ooi grew up in the south, thus the preponderance of regional specialties on Lum-Ka-Naad‘s sprawling menu, which touts over 150 options. The couple still runs a branch closer to Cal State Northridge, but let’s focus on the Encino spinoff, which features a burgundy awning over the front patio, a dining room with Buddha statue mural, and wood bucket-frame chandeliers. Of course pork plays a key role, and my favorite dish of the porcine ilk consists of Kuah Gling Kra Dook Moo ($9.95).
This southern Thai specialty features pork spare ribs cut into pieces and pan-fried with a spicy curry paste of galangal, Kaffir lime leaves, turmeric root and shrimp paste that strikes just the right balance of brightness and spice. An aromatic chiffonade of citrus leaves completes the aromatic stew, along with crunchy raw vegetables to tame the slow-building heat.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.