It's no secret that the Southern California food scene is a focal point of the national culinary compass. From gourmet food trucks and low-key Mexican food joints to sassy cupcake bakeries and high-end dining, you'll find there's no shortage of options and ethnic cuisine that deliver on uniqueness, quality and flavor.
My suggestion for taking a meaningful bite out of SoCal’s culinary offerings is to dedicate a few hours to a food-focused tour that not only gets you a seat at a few top spots, but also gives you some personal interaction with restaurateurs and the full attention of a personable celebrity chef.
Perhaps the best tour operator in town to offer the culinary immersion tour is Melting Pot Tours. The LA based company offers a number of different foodie tours including the Old Pasadena Walking Tour, The Farmers Market Food & History Tour and my new favorite Jet Tila’s Flavors of Thai Town.
All Melting Pot Tours are offered for a set price and require a reservation through the Melting Pot Tours Website. Food is served in slightly smaller portions so you don't get overly full, but believe me you won't walk away hungry. Tours include four to five stops, restaurant tips and a beverage or two with the option of purchasing your own beer, wine or spirits.
The Thai Town tour follows a short flat journey down Hollywood Boulevard’s most colorful, tasty and eclectic downtown streets.. The tour begins with a warm welcome from Chef Tila and Andrew Harris in front of the venerable Ruen Pair Restaurant. Four plus stops and 2.5 hours later, participants have been nurtured, mentored and educated in all things Thai. I am telling you, for $125 per person you’ve never been on a foodie tour like this. Just sayin’…buy your tickets now at http://www.meltingpottours.com/. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Today’s recipe comes compliments of Chef Jet Tila who personally acts as the guide with co-host Andrew Harris on the Thai Town Tour which is hosted on various Sundays throughout the year.
Thai Pork Jerky- Moo Dat Diow
Compliments of Chef Jet Tila
Active Work Time: 15 minutes, Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes
1 lbs. Pork Should/Pork Butt
1 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tsp. White pepper
2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp. Thai Soybean Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sweet Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
Cut the pork in to thin strips about 3” long 1/2” wide. Don’t trim too much fat off; it’s ok to trim any silver skin away.
Combine all ingredients except pork in a blender and blend into a fine puree.
In a resealable bag or sealable container, pour the marinade over the pork and massage well until pork is completely coated. Marinate covered in the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.
Line a cookie sheet with paper towels or parchment paper. Blot off excess marinade and lay onto the sheet pan and allow to dry in the fridge overnight.
In a medium pot, heat vegetable oil to high to about 360 degrees. Fry pork strips for about 4 to 6 minutes until cooked through and edges edges are slightly crisp. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
Serve with Thai Sticky rice.
Until we meet again …
Ladies: Choc tee ka
Gentleman: Choc tee khap