Any mention of Mercado la Paloma to a foodie is sure to evoke happy memories of the savory cochinita pibil from Chichen Itza or the hearty lomo saltado from Mo-Chica. Rightfully so, I say; both are delicious dishes.
There is, however, another impressive restaurant in Mercado la Paloma that has been left out of the foodie fun.
Thai Corner sits in the back, right corner of Mercado la Paloma--almost exactly halfway between Chichen Itza and Mo-Chica, like the middle child who flies under his or her parents' (or in this case, patrons') radar.
Long before Mercado la Paloma garnered attention for its Yucatecan and Peruvian cuisine at no-frills prices, a friend suggested that I visit the food court to sample Thai Corner's offerings, and it has been my go-to lunch spot ever since.
For me, any Thai meal is incomplete without a Thai iced tea ($1.75). The nominal price of Thai Corner's iced tea belies its quality; this Thai iced tea combines the perfect ratio of tea to milk to craft a creamy but refreshing drink.
Because I am both a creature of habit and a pad thai aficionado, lunch this day was, of course, shrimp pad thai ($7.00). In terms of quantity, quality and price, this dish is second-to-none. This deep to-go box was absolutely jam-packed with perfectly-flavored noodles, well-cooked shrimp as well as the standard pad thai toppings of carrots, bean sprouts and peanuts. Although this is not my favorite pad thai in Los Angeles, it is certainly towards the top of the list.
For his lunch, J ordered the papaya salad with shrimp ($5.55), which provided a satisfying crunch with every bite thanks to the shredded papaya, tomatoes and peanuts. Although this dish is sweet at first, wusses (like me) beware; the spice of the chili lime sauce kicks in very suddenly and doesn't let up. J (who didn't notice the chili pepper next to the dish on the menu) ended up drinking most of our Thai iced tea to wash this down.
With quick, delicious food at reasonable prices, a lunch stop at Thai Corner never fails to deliver. The next time you're at Mercado la Paloma, keep walking past Mo-Chica and give them a try.
3655 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90007