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Thai restaurants

Regional Thai cooking is returning to the fore in L.A., bringing terrific new energy to the Thai food scene. Alex Sonbalee and his wife Ooi opened their multiregional restaurant Lum-Ka-Naad in Northridge. Alex is from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, and Ooi is from Krabi in the south. They’re cooking the food from their own regions. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
Turmeric, bamboo shoots and fish, a southern Thai dish served in a clay pot at Lum-Ka-Naad in Northridge. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
Naam phrik awng, a northern dish, is made with ground pork, tomatoes, roasted chiles, onions and shallots at Lum-Ka-Naad. It’s served with Thai eggplants, other vegetables and herbs, and accompanied by a basket of sticky rice. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
Naam phrik noom, a northern Thai dip, at Lum-Ka-Naad. It’s made with four types of roasted young chiles, plus garlic, scallions and shallots. Lightly steamed vegetables accompany it, for dipping. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
Three dips, served with lightly steamed vegetables for dipping, at Lum-Ka-Naad: nam phrik noom, top; naam phrik awng, right; tum kanoon, bottom. Tum kanoon is made from young jackfruit, tomatoes, garlic, shallots and roasted peppers. (Stephen Osman / LAT)
Srintip “Jazz” Singsanong, standing, is co-owner of Jitlada in Thai Town, which specializes in southern Thai cooking. Southern flavors are the boldest and spiciest of all the Thai regional cuisines. (Anne Cusack / LAT)
Plaa thawt khil min — deep-fried fish seasoned with turmeric — is one of the southern Thai dishes served at Jitlada. (Anne Cusack / LAT)
Yam priaw dawng — pickled crab salad — at Jitlada. (Anne Cusack / LAT)
Thoune Bouahom is owner of Dee Dee Thai-Lao restaurant in Anaheim. Thai-Lao cooking is the food of the ethnic Lao people who have always lived in Thailand’s Isaan region in the north. Thai-Loa dishes are similar to Isaan dishes, but they’re not as aggressively seasoned. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
Sai kok Lao — lemon grass-spiked sausage with special sauce — is made in-house at Dee Dee Thai-Lao in Anaheim. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
Nuah savanh — beef jerky — is sliced paper-thin and deep-fried at Dee Dee Thai-Lao. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
Diners at Anaheim’s Dee Dee Thai-Lao. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
The popular Thai Nakorn restaurant, which specializes in Isaan cuisine from the northeast of Thailand, recently opened in Stanton; its Garden Grove location closed after a fire. The owners plan to reopen the Garden Grove restaurant soon. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
Jimmy Sirijirapong, manager of Thai Nakorn, serves Isaan cooking, in which dried chiles, herbs, limes and fermented fish lend their flavor to wild boar or raw freshwater shrimp (“naked shrimp”). (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)
At Thai Nakorn, wild boar with spicy sauce reflects the Isaan region’s love for game. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / LAT)