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Legendary Restaurant Family to Open Thai Street Food Spot in Sawtelle Japantown

Plus, an ode to See’s Candies, and more boba comes to Old Town Pasadena

Katy Noochlaor and Chef Amanda Kuntee of Tuk Tuk Thai sitting on chairs with a pink background.
Katy Noochlaor and Chef Amanda Kuntee of Tuk Tuk Thai
Tuk Tuk Thai
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Thai restaurant families run deep in Los Angeles, with chefs/restaurateurs like Kris Yenbamroong taking over his family’s Talesai legacy in West Hollywood and beyond, and sisters Cathy and Vanda Asapahu operating their family restaurant Ayara into a new generation. Jazz Singsanong and her late brother Tui Sungkamee helped establish Jitlada as a premiere destination for Southern Thai cuisine, while Justin Pichetrungsi took over his father’s 40-year-old restaurant Anajak Thai with a natural wine menu and vibrant Tuesday collaboration dinners.

And quietly, sisters Katy Noochlaor and Amanda Kuntee have been reshaping the conversation around longtime neighborhood Thai restaurants Chao Krung and Same Same Thai in Fairfax District and Silver Lake, respectively. Now Noochlaor and Kuntee have taken their family’s restaurant Tuk Tuk Thai, a 23-year-old local favorite in West LA, and plan to reopen it in Sawtelle Japantown under the same moniker and a refocused street food menu.

Kuntee took over the 50-year-old restaurant Chao Krung as head chef back in 2015, installing a trimmed down but still traditional menu and an updated dining room. Noochlaor and Kuntee have worked together for as long as they can remember, developing a now three-part LA Thai restaurant dominion. Tuk Tuk Thai takes over the former Cafe Dahab space on the northern end of Sawtelle Japantown, just around the corner from the iconic Nuart Theatre. The idea is focus on beer and wine-friendly street fare like kuay tiew hang, Isan sausage, and crispy fried taro, served in a 47-seat dining room (with available outdoor seating). Though Sawtelle Japantown has been a hotbed of Asian cuisine over the past few decades, Tuk Tuk, which plans to reopen on December 1, adds a quality Thai restaurant to the neighborhood.

The legend of See’s in LA

Jenn Harris writes an ode to the famous See’s Candies chocolates, based in Los Angeles for 100 years, in the LA Times this week. There are higher-end chocolatiers, there are more popular chocolates brands, but perhaps no other chocolate in LA is more highly regarded than the maker of those delectable white boxes. “I’ve sampled bean-to-bar chocolate all over the world and tried desserts from renowned pastry chefs. I’ve eaten and written about my fair share of candy. But the chocolate I want most, the one that makes me think of my family and transports me to the simpler, before times, is always See’s,” writes Harris.

Finally a grand opening for Gogo’s

Gogo’s Tacos from current Guerrilla Tacos owner Brittney Valles is finally throwing a grand opening party, more than two-and-a-half months after its debut in Westlake. The party starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 21, with face painting, classic cars in its massive parking lot, piñatas, mechanical bull, and of course plenty of food and drinks. Tickets run $10 to $30 (plus fees) depending on the number of drinks you want and come with a $10 food voucher.

Thanks for the kind words, Esquire

Esquire released its annual Best New Restaurant list and just one LA place makes the cut, with Pearl River Deli mentioned among 40 others. Most of the list is centered on New York City. Bridgetown Roti, which was Eater’s Best New Restaurant entrant for Los Angeles, was named pop-up of the year by Esquire.

More boba for Old Town Pasadena

Bearology joins the ever-crowded dessert and boba tea scene in Old Town Pasadena, according to roving SGV reporter Kristie Hang: