Thai Food Fest 2013
Outside of Thailand, Los Angeles is home to the largest Thai settlement in the world. In 1999, when an East Hollywood neighborhood officially became designated "Thai Town" (the world's first), nearly 100,000 Thai immigrants were living in the City of Angels. Coincidentally, Bangkok's real name in Thai literally means the City of Angels.
The Bangkok Market on Melrose opened in 1972 and was L.A.'s first Thai business. The location became a nucleus for an emerging community that soon thrived with restaurants and grocers offering tastes of the homeland.
A few blocks west of the Bangkok Market, at Paramount Studios, the city will enjoy its very first Thai Food Festival on September 29th. The festival will be hosted by chef Jet Tila (Charleston), who as a boy worked in the Bangkok Market and later at his family's Thai restaurant, "I was the kid doing homework in the back corner of the restaurant."
Chef Jet Tila has earned a reputation as the consummate expert of the neighborhood, and been deemed Thai Town's honorary Mayor. He curates the ultimate insider's tour..."Melting Pot Food Tours" of Thai Town, and guided Anthony Bourdain when he taped a segment here for his "No Reservations" series.
Tila will be joined at the fest by notable chefs including Sang Yoon (Lukshon), David LeFevre (MB Post), Susan Feniger (Street), Andy Ricker (Pok Pok in Portland), and Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market). Enjoy tastings from local restaurants including Siam Sunset, Lum Ka Naad, Thai Nakorn, Thai Society, Jitalda, Ruen Pair, Night + Market, and Bhan Kanon Thai.
Demonstrations and discussion panels will round out the traditional activities - Thai fruit carving, live musical performances, kickboxing, classical dancing, and umbrella painting.
Don't confuse this festival with the Thai New Year celebration that's held in Thai Town every spring. This is the inaugural Thai Food Fest, and a collaboration between the Thai Trade Center of Los Angeles and the Royal Thai Consulate of LA. The event might be another signpost marking a steady revival of Thai cuisine in America, after years of waning interest since the Thai food craze of the 70's and 80's.
Thai Food Fest
Sunday, Sept. 29 3-6 p.m.
Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles 90038
General admission costs $50 and grants access at 3:30 p.m.
VIP is $75, and includes preferred parking and grants access at 3 p.m.