Eating Out

Unapologetic Asian Fusion at KoThai Republic in SF’s Inner Sunset

I was intrigued by the unique and concise menu at KoThai Republic, a Korean and Thai fusion restaurant in the Inner Sunset of San Francisco. The owners Sung Park and Gof Sanguanwong previously ran a food truck Spork and Stix, and this is their first brick and mortar restaurant. 

The weekend menu is the same for both brunch and dinner – a vibrant mix of sharable small plates and comforting rice and noodle dishes. There were dishes that you may expect from KoThai’s name, like bibimbap and tom yum noodle soup. I was also excited to see other influences, like an impressively flavorful Taiwanese beef noodle soup with a base made from scratch. 

Some of the more fusion dishes included kimchi fried rice balls – a nod to Italian arancini, but with kimchi, bacon, cheddar filling. The KoThai ceviche was Park’s more accessible spin on traditional gejang, or Korean marinated raw crab. This (still quite spicy) version featured cured raw shrimp, served in lettuce cups. I also liked the eye-catching presentation of the grilled hamachi collar, usually a modest side dish. Served over an addictively good bed of fish sauce-loaded bread crumbs and broccolini, the collar could be the main star.

The king salmon haw mok, traditionally a Thai fish curry steamed in banana leaves, featured baek (white) kimchi wrapped salmon in a hearty bowl of green curry. And the Korean spicy noodle dish was such an enjoyable combo of bibim guksu (spicy sweet cold noodles) with Thai style grilled pork jowl.

Dessert was also memorable – a cute apple pie steamed cheesecake served in a glass jar. Brown sugar crumble and lime zest topped off this crustless combo.

Service was very friendly, with Sung checking in multiple times and explaining the personal inspiration and context behind many of the dishes. Definitely a neighborhood gem worth going out of your way for.

* Meal was hosted, opinions are my own.

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