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Arts & Entertainment

Korean- and Thai-inspired spot rises in the Inner Sunset

The dinner offerings at Kothai Republic include tom yum soup, kimchi and mussels. | Courtesy Sung Park/Kothai Republic

Two San Francisco food truck veterans quietly opened a Korean- and Thai-inspired restaurant called Kothai Republic in the Inner Sunset last month. 

Longtime friends Sung Park and Gof Sanguanwong are both Bay Area restaurant veterans who previously operated a food truck called Spork and Stix. With Kothai Republic, Park said he and Sanguanwong finally have the time and kitchen space to iterate. 

“This is our own version of San Francisco cuisine,” Park said.

As the restaurant’s name suggests, Park said the menu’s base flavors are rooted in Korean and Thai cuisine, but he and Sanguanwong decided to stray from tradition slightly.  

Kothai Republic is a brick-and-mortar project from the team behind food truck Spork and Stix. | Courtesy Sung Park/Kothai Republic

“When we talk about traditional food, everyone has a reference point to someone home-cooking for them,” Park said. “That’s something we’ll never be able to compete with.” 

Instead, he and Sanguanwong put their own spin on expected dishes like tom yum soup and bibimbap. He prepares his bibimbap sauce with burnt onions and shallots, mixing in Korean chili paste. 

WhatNowSF first noticed Kothai’s beer and wine license application back in November. Park told The Standard he’s still waiting on the license but hopes to eventually partner with local microbreweries and small wineries in Napa and Sonoma to develop a full beer and wine list.

Kothai Republic won’t require reservations for the foreseeable future. Park said he hopes his restaurant will become a communal space that people can stop by on their way down the Ninth Avenue commercial corridor. An Inner Sunset resident for 36 years himself, he said he’s proud to open a restaurant in his own backyard.

“There’s been great support from everyone here in the neighborhood, which is exactly why we opened the door so quietly to begin with,” Park said.

Kothai Republic