One rule for Thai breakfast: Eat whatever you want.
Bangkok, Thailand is the definition of a city in organized chaos. Motorcycles weave perilously between buses and vans, and being a pedestrian on a busy street grants few of the legal (and thus physical) protections afforded to jaywalkers in the US. It’s a larger metaphor for Thai culture itself: The greater strategic needs like access to food, potable water and general infrastructure have been attended to.
What’s usually available for breakfast in Thailand is also available the rest of the day
How one goes about accessing or utilizing these provisions is a more granular, tactical concern, generally patched together by deferential notions of social propriety and Thailand’s famous attitude of openness and serenity. Meals, then, receive a similarly amorphous treatment — the significance of breakfast is, by and large, a social construct that doesn’t seem to be of earth-shattering importance to the people of Thailand.
As such, there are few dishes dedicated to the first meal of the day, if any. What’s usually available for breakfast in Thailand is also available the rest of the day. And since the needs of a person early in the morning tend to have certain common threads running underneath them, it only follows that a proper Thai breakfast avail certain types of food — all of which someone can access if they wished. So here are five places to get some good Thai food in the morning in LA. How and when you get it, in the spirit of the Thai people, is entirely up to you.
Otus Thai Kitchen
Photo by Crystal Coser
The journey starts at Otus, a cute, intimate coffee shop and restaurant on La Brea with limited parking that opens each morning at 6:30 a.m. Otus serves up a menu of Thai street food favorites, sometimes re-contextualized with American touches. For instance, a Thai-style roti (pan-fried wheat flour bread) sliced up and scattered with seasonal berries, or the kai-krata, a pan-fried egg served with minced chicken and topped with medallions of sweet lap cheong, or Chinese sausage, served with toast points.
Otus also serves up an interesting take on jok, or rice congee. The dish comes embellished with a poached egg, shiitakes, ginger, green onion and topped with crispy rice noodles. It’s a diner-meets-Thai-food concept which absolutely bears mention in the discussion of Thai breakfast in LA. —1253 N. La Brea Ave
Photo by Parada O., Yelp
East Hollywood’s Thai Town is rife with late night spots for fried noodles and soup noodles, but if you’re looking for a place to get breakfast, Siam Sunset might be the only Thai restaurant to open up as early as 6:00 a.m. Siam Sunset is also one of the only places to serve up legitimate pa thong ko, or Thai-Style crullers. The strips of fried bread are an offshoot of the Chinese youtiao, though they tend a bit more dense with fewer oil blisters.
At a couple inches, they’re also much smaller than Chinese donuts, which can reach literally a foot or more in length. Commonly paired with a dipping sauce of sweetened condensed milk, pa thong ko is generally served alongside a bowl of jok, which is also available on the menu. — 5265 Sunset Blvd
Sapp Coffee Shop
Photo by Euno Lee
There are three Thai restaurants in Los Angeles open at 8:00 a.m. The first two are already listed, and the third is Sapp Coffee Shop, a noodle specialist that actually puts out a celebrated dish of jade noodles with barbecued pork. In the wee hours of the morning, however, you might feel more inclined to tuck in to a bowl of their excellent boat noodles. There are fewer things more pleasant and altogether restorative than the fragrant steam of ginger and star anise billowing out into your face in the morning. The noodles and soup are refreshing and Sapp’s noodles clock in at a modest price point of under $7 (cash only), with a portion size perfect for breakfast. — 5183 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood Thai Restaurant
My only engagement with a homestyle Thai breakfast was at my girlfriend’s house in Bangna, a suburb roughly a half-hour’s drive outside Bangkok’s city center, where I was served a soupy white rice dish similar to congee alongside some gingery pork patties and fried eggs.
The dish, which actually seemed like fully cooked rice steeped in boiling water, is khao tom, and the closest analogue to that experience can be found at Hollywood Thai. Though Hollywood Thai opens closer to lunch at around 11 a.m., their khao tom is authentic and an excellent substitute for plain rice. Side dishes like their pork omelette and minced pork with olives provide fantastic salty counterbalances and take on new life with a little help from the khao tom. — 5241 Hollywood Blvd
Bhan Kanom Thai
Photo by Jennifer P.
This sweets and desserts shop doesn’t open until 10 a.m. on weekdays, but that’s probably not when you’re going to be stopping in. Situated across the parking lot from late-night Thai dining king Ruen Pair, it’s a common spot to pick up some dessert.
In addition to a dizzying array of packaged Thai domestic snacks and pastries, Bhan Kanom Thai also has an ice cream counter, creperie, and an in-store bakery serving up kanom krok (small coconut pancakes), and pang chi, or little coconut-taro-corn cakes sweetened with palm sugar. They’re great as desserts, but they’ll also reliably keep until at least the next morning where they’re great as a quick breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. — 5271 Hollywood Blvd
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