L.A. Thai Town

By Joe Meny

It’s a little over 10 years ago that the Los Angeles city council voted to approve the re-naming of the western part of the city of Los Angeles as “Thai Town”. Located in the area between Western Street and and Normandie Street in los Angeles, Thai Town was truly a historical accomplishment for Thai society living in the United States – especially those living in LA. Based on the 1990 Census, there were nearly 80,000 Thai people living in Southern California. Since then, Thai Town has become an extremely busy tourist spot for international, as well as American, tourists who come to enjoy Hollywood and then stop by for some shopping, and eating some delicious Thai restaurants that have thrived here for years. And in 2008, then First Lady Laura Bush granted the neighborhood recognition as a “Preserve America” community, making Thai Town eligible for $250,000 in both public and private grants.

Plaza where you can purchase a garland of flowers, candles or incense and make a wish at the Thai spirit house. Then stop next store to Dokya Bookstore to purchase the latest edition of the Bangkok Post, books on Thailand, the Thai language and Thai culture. Hungry? Try the Thai food court at Thailand Plaza. Sample some traditional Thai cuisine cafeteriastyle and be sure to finish with dessert and treat yourself to some delicious Thai pastries, cakes and candies. Nearby, you’ll find Nuch Kanom Gift Shop on Hollywood Blvd. It’s the perfect place to find beautiful Thai handicrafts, including lacquer ware, ceramics, rattan, silk clothing, jewelry, and genuine artifacts.

Bangkok Market — Found such things as kaffir lime leaves, giant bags of jasmine rice, palm sugar. If you like cooking Thai, Japanese, Chinese, or even Indian, this place definitely has everything you would need to make most dishes on your Asian-friendly menu. The staff are really helpful, and the selection and prices can’t be beat! Full fish just sitting there on ice; the freshest and most perfect pieces to complete your recipe. You’ll feel like you’ve been to Thailand and back! They pretty much have everything you would ever need to cook yourself an authentic Thai meal, including some Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian and Vietnamese items. You’ll find all manner of canned items and dry goods, plus cosmetics/personal care items from Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia. It’s organized, cheap, and well-stocked…the perfect place to go when you want to stock the fridge and and pantry with delicious southeast Asian ingredients: thai chilis, galangal (thai ginger), togarashi, jasmine tea and lemongrass

Thailand Plaza Market — Lively environment, located on the second floor of the Thailand Plaza market, with windows that overlook Hollywoood Blvd. A huge restaurant with wonderful thrown-style seats fit for a Thai king (just not as ornate). There’s a stage where performers entertain you with karaoke-style music. Every now and then they also have a band. It’s a great place to people watch. Check out the Dynamite Eggs: four over easy eggs topped with ground meat (beef or chicken) and topped with Thai basil and other spices. Be sure to try their Shrimp cake appetizer, or the Crying tiger: beef strips marinated the Thai way. Complement any meal with a perfect blend of thai tea. Don’t miss the fresh mango and sticky coconut rice for dessert. The ambience is nice, and the location is tops in Thai Town.

All this and a killer dance floor…hearing and dancing to the Backstreet Boys with a Thai accent will be just what you need for a fun night out.


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About the Author: Rick Lin


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