Spicy BBQ is a two-woman operation, and that's all they need to succeed.
Spicy BBQ was the fourth leg of an epic food marathon. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, Food Marathon leads occasional food benders. Today, he guided Matt (Mattatouille) Kang and I on a Hollywood eating tour that began at Skooby’s Dogs, Loteria Grill Hollywood and Falafel Arax. Spicy BBQ delivered the only meal that was truly special. The Northern Thai food that Kanlaya “Nong” Sriyana produces in her tiny strip mall kitchen is some of the most flavorful and satisfying in town, of any variety.
We began with a bowl of fire-red pork dip served with sticky rice, which acts as an eating implement. The crumbled pork “dip” was sprinkled with fried garlic and shaved scallions. It wasn’t nearly as spicy as Nong’s Serrano chile variation, but still appeared with cooling cucumbers and cabbage.
Nong’s curry-soaked glass noodles are always staggeringly good, loaded with crunchy bamboo sheets, purple eggplant, green Thai eggplant, green beans and cauliflower florets. Of course, crispy fried garlic nubs and whole chilies joined the fray. The dish is available with chicken, pork, but pairs particularly well with plump shrimp. Considering this is Spicy BBQ, the noodles were relatively mild.
Nong combines cilantro, garlic, onion, mint and red chilies to form Fried Ground Pork Cakes. She bakes and deep-fries the mixture before topping with crispy mint leaves and a fried garlic shower. Nong’s considerable effort results in explosive, complex flavor.
Northern Thai sausages are similarly outstanding, seasoned with plenty of lemongrass. Skins blister on the grill and contain luscious, herbaceous interiors.
Spicy BBQ’s menu might not be nearly as deep or varied as nearby Jitlada, but what Nong makes, she makes incredibly well. Spicy BBQ certainly deserves mention as one of L.A.’s top Thai restaurants, and Food Marathon deserves mention as one of L.A.’s most deliciously devastating eating ideas.