Jet Tila (Food Network personality, America's Thai Culinary Ambassador, and lifelong Angelino) gave me an expert-guided intro to LA's Thai Town. Below are a few basic facts, the places we visited + 2 more spots worth checking out. There's a link to a video of the whole experience at the end!
  1. Fact: LA is home to the largest population of Thai people outside of Thailand.
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    And you know what that means? It's home to the best Thai food in the world (outside of Thailand)
  2. Fact: LA is home to the only officially recognized Thai Town in America.
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    Just one more reason LA is awesome. It's located in East Hollywood along a 6-block stretch of Hollywood Blvd between Normandie and Western Avenues.
  3. Places Visited w/ Jet...
  4. Bangkok Market
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    America's first Thai market (opened in 1972 by Jet's parents). There are over 7,000 Southeast Asian products here, so if you want to make a great Thai meal at home, this is THE place to gather the ingredients.
  5. Yai Restaurant
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    This place flys under the radar in the LA Thai food scene, but it's Jet's favorite Thai restaurant (and dude knows what's up). Order this: crispy pork belly with spicy basil, steamed seafood curry (the only place in town doing this dish), and a side of rice. If you want a starter, go for the catfish salad or the papaya salad. I've been back for this exact meal 3 times since going with Jet.
  6. Bhan Kanom Thai
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    The Willy Wonka of Thai desserts (and snacks)! This is one of my favorite food shops in all of LA and an awesome place to come after a date nearby or to pick up a unique gift, like a bunch of packaged deserts and Thai snacks (sea scallop flavored chips). Don't leave without eating you body weight in Kanom Krok (roasted coconut milk).
  7. Honorable Mention...
  8. Ruen Pair
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    This place is also incredible (and it's located right across the plaza from Bhan Kanom Thai). Last time I had lunch with Jet we feasted here. It's all around delicious but check out @HJ's list "$71 at Ruen Pair" for great recommendations.
  9. Jitlada
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    This is likely the first Thai restaurant that comes to mind for many Angelinos...and for good reason. The food is delicious and known for being on the spicy side (they specialize in Southern Thai cuisine). Check out the list "best menu items at Jitlada" by @bjnovak for what to order.
  10. Sapp Coffee Shop @LAmag awarded it Best Pad Thai in 2014. Authentic + sweetness comes from tamarind water (vs cane sugar) so it's not sticky, icky sweet. Great list you have already!
    Suggested by @NancyMiller
  11. Suggestions?? Let me know what Thai places in LA you love. @LAmag @NancyMiller @KCRW @LAMayorsoffice, maybe you guys have some favorites?
  12. Pok Pok Phat Thai in Chinatown
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    From Jonathan Gold's review: WHAT TO ORDER: Phat thai, kuaytiaw khua kai, phak buung fai daeng (water spinach) and the Chinese celery flavored drinking vinegar. Feel free to check out the whole review: http://bit.ly/1VBsUmQ
    Suggested by @KCRW