>> Kruang Tedd | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday, 13 September 2021

Kruang Tedd

THAILAND 🇹🇭

COVID-19 UPDATE: A large outdoor area gets popular in the evenings but is quite hot during the day. The air-conditioned interior is open with half a dozen tables for groups.

Despite being open for lunch, if you drive down Hollywood Blvd. in Thai Town during the early afternoon you might not even notice Kruang Tedd, which shares a small strip mall with its more famous neighbor Jumbo's Clown Room. On a night the strip club is open, good luck finding space in the parking lot, which has been further reduced in size by multiple outdoor dining setups.

But once you do find your way in, night time is when you will see Kruang Tedd (and Jumbo's!) alive, with large hot pots over tabletop gas burners and raw meats ready to grill. Coming to do one or both of these setups is the reason to dine here, but the rest of the menu should not be ignored as there are definitely some stars, as well as some to pass.

Grilled pork jowl

No future meal can be imagined here without a quick order of grilled pork jowl ($12, above) which served as a last-minute replacement for the sold out gai yang one night. While the pork itself is just about perfect, the more significant event is unlocking the nam jim jaew for the table. This dipping sauce is a wonderful homemade version and can be used on everything going forward.

In English, the spicy crispy morning glory ($14, below) does not quite tell the tale of where the "spicy" is coming from, a freshly prepared bowl of ground pork, shrimp, and nam prik pow. The last ingredient is made from a chili oil shrimp paste and packs the punch. Take spoonfuls of it and a few ultra-crispy sticks of morning glory together for some really great bites to start any meal.

Spicy crispy morning glory ยำผักบุ้งกรอบ

KT Jim Jum beef set จิ้มจุ่ม ชุดใหญ่

The style of dining here is best setup for groups of at least four people, with $49 set options for either tabletop grilling (moo ka ta) or hot pot cooking (jim jum). For either choice, you can select pork, beef, chicken, or seafood. The kt jim jum beef set ($49, above and below) comes with two trays stacked with sliced beef and two eggs.

Crack an egg over each tray and mix it into the meat as someone else puts the vegetables, glass noodles, garlic and thai chillies into the now boiling broth. Cook the egg-soaked meat, use the provided dipping sauce (nam jim suki), and enjoy. You may have noticed as mentioned that the nam jim jaew was tastier and this could lead to an annoying number of requests to the staff for more.

KT Jim Jum beef set จิ้มจุ่ม ชุดใหญ่

If you prefer not to do your own cooking, you can still enjoy hot pots consisting of a variety of seafood or a large yen ta fo bowl, the latter of which was seen a couple times on other tables and promises to be satisfying on the next visit.

The surprise of the meal may have been the deftness with which the som tum poo plara ($14, below) was executed. This Lao-style version is laced with fermented fish paste (plara) and is served with a fermented black crab (poo). The plate does more than just scratch an itch for those in the mood for som tum, it was completely wiped clean.

Papaya salad (poo plara) ส้มตำปลาร้า

Late nights in Thai cities often lead to orders of large bubbling soups made with Mama, the country's ubiquitous and beloved packaged ramen noodles. One of the favorites is available here: Mama tom yum talay ($20 medium, below), which is a good soup but suffers a bit from the freshness of the seafood, not quite up to Southern California standards.

This is unfortunate since the dishes using Mama can be intensely satisfying when done well, especially when some drinks have been involved.

Mama tom yum talay (medium)

Meals can be finished off with sweets of course, one of which is the coconut ice cream sandwich ($10, below), a riff on what you find from vendors in Thailand. There you will find a cheap snack of a scoop of ice cream placed on one slice of white bread, surprisingly satisfying.

The plate here takes a hot dog bun and gives three scoops, two of coconut and one taro. Coconut jelly, peanuts, and corn are sprinkled over everything, and despite the name it would not be recommended to pick this up. Unfortunately the boring hot dog bun does not combine with the ice cream as well as white bread, but the dish is enjoyable enough before you reach the bottom.

Homemade coconut ice cream sandwich

📍 5151 Hollywood Blvd., Thai Town, East Hollywood

🇹🇭🇹🇭🇹🇭

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