Thai cuisine is renowned for its zesty and piquant flavors, which have increasingly gained popularity worldwide. While the roots of Thai cuisine stretch back centuries, the chronicle of Thai food overseas and in California is a more recent event.
Thai cuisine made its debut overseas in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily due to the burgeoning popularity of tourism to Thailand. As more visitors discovered the vibrant culture and mouth-watering cuisine of the country, they started to search for Thai eateries back home. In the United States, Thai cuisine gained popularity initially in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, where large communities of Thai immigrants settled.
One of the earliest Thai restaurants in the United States was the Bangkok Restaurant in San Francisco, established in 1967. Owned by a Thai migrant named McDang, the restaurant became a hit with locals and soon caught the attention of food critics and celebrities alike. Another pioneer of Thai cuisine in the United States was Thai Chef McDang, who opened a restaurant in Los Angeles in 1972.
Thai Food in San Diego, CA
The popularity of Thai cuisine continued to burgeon throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as more Thai restaurants sprouted up across the United States. In California, Thai cuisine gained enormous popularity, owing to the state’s sizable Asian American population. Presently, California boasts some of the country’s best Thai restaurants, with many situated in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.
One of the factors that have propelled the popularity of Thai cuisine in California is the state’s emphasis on wholesome eating. Thai food is recognized for its utilization of fresh herbs and spices, as well as its emphasis on vegetables and lean proteins. This makes it an excellent choice for health-conscious diners who wish to indulge in delicious food without feeling guilty.
Another reason for the popularity of Thai cuisine in California is the state’s heterogeneous culinary milieu. With a vast number of migrants from across the globe, California is home to a diverse range of eateries serving cuisine from every nook and cranny of the world. Thai food meshes well with this assortment of flavors and has become a staple of the state’s dining scene.
Thai cuisine has also played a significant role in the development of fusion cuisine in California. Chefs in the state have been experimenting with blending Thai flavors and techniques with other cuisines, like Mexican, Korean, and Japanese. This has resulted in the creation of innovative and scrumptious dishes that are both exceptional and tasty.
Night + Market, located in Los Angeles and Silver Lake, is one of the most celebrated Thai fusion restaurants in California. Owned by chef Kris Yenbamroong, the eatery serves an array of traditional Thai dishes and contemporary fusion creations, such as Thai fried chicken and spicy larb salad tacos.
Pok Pok LA, another famous Thai fusion restaurant located in Los Angeles, serves a mixture of classic Thai dishes and modern interpretations, such as Thai-style wings and spicy papaya salad.
Overall, the history of Thai cuisine overseas and in California is one of expansion and advancement. From its humble beginnings in the 1960s and 1970s to its current status as a much-loved cuisine around the world, Thai food has come a long way. With its bold and vibrant flavors, emphasis on fresh ingredients, and diverse range of dishes, it is not surprising that Thai cuisine continues to be a favorite among diners globally. Whether you are a longtime aficionado or a newcomer to Thai cuisine, there is always something novel and palatable to explore.