For our first stop, we drove out to the Valley in search of a place called Kim Thai Food. We hadn’t been before, but we heard from a few friends that it had some great dishes, especially a delicious papaya salad. We decided to give it a try!
Location, Location, Location
Address: 12727 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605
It took us a few tries before finding Kim Thai Food because of its hidden location. We knew that it was in a shopping plaza off Sherman Way, but there were so many shopping plazas in that area! We even used Waze to navigate there but ended up walking around the wrong plaza. After driving into the second plaza, we decided to walk into “La Fiesta Swap Meet.”
We had no idea what was inside, but it showed promise because of a small sign that said “Food Court: Comida Internaccional.” Luckily, both of us understand a bit of Spanish. No outside signage for Kim Thai Food but our instincts told us it was in there.
We walked in and saw aisles full of small toy and clothing shops, left and right. No indication of food though; at least not until we walked all the way to the back…
And then…BINGO! There it was. Kim Thai Food—a small, unpretentious, hole-in-the-wall with a neon sign and delicious looking Thai food. We were so happy to find it.
We ordered three dishes: grilled pork, duck larb, and papaya salad.
Grilled Pork – $10
All the dishes were delicious, but this one stood out. We’d definitely come back and order this again. The meat was well cooked and still tender.
The sauce that came with the grilled pork was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Imagine concentrating all the Thai flavors into one small bowl and that’s what it tasted like. Raw garlic, chilies, lime juice, fish sauce and who knows what else. While our tastebuds were in heaven, anyone within breathing distance from us for the rest of the day was not.
Duck Larb – $15
We had seen this dish on their Yelp page and decided to try it despite it’s unusually high price tag. From what we could tell, the Duck Larb consisted of ground duck meat, liver, kidney, crispy chicharones (fried pork skin), dried chilies and fresh herbs. Mint, lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic and cilantro all gave it a really fresh and flavorful taste.
Papaya Salad – $6
This was the dish we came specifically for. We heard from a friend that it might be the best papaya salad in L.A. There were a few minor things we would have done differently (like using cherry tomatoes and dried shrimp) but all in all, it was a very authentic and flavorful papaya salad with just the right amount of fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar dressing. Peanuts, chilies, long beans and cabbage completed the dish.
Proportion was good for two people, but it can easily feed three, especially if you’re all sharing another dish or two.
We’re not sure if it beats the papaya salad at Ruen Pair but it’s definitely in our top three.
The Environment was definitely interesting. One of the views, while we were eating, was of a woman getting her eyebrows professionally threaded.
Another view was of Kim Thai Food staff making papaya salad and handling orders behind the counter.
We really enjoyed Kim Thai Food not only for it’s authentic Thai food, but also for the experience of hunting it down. Eating amazing Thai food in a mall full of random shops is definitely an authentic Thai experience, which made it even more nostalgic for us.
- Bring cash with you. It’s a cash-only place.
- Parking is free and easily available in the shopping plaza lot.
- It’s closed on Tuesdays.
- Check out other dishes to order: Kim Thai Food on Yelp.