This weekend, Thai food and culture were spotlighted at LA's first Thai Food Festival at Paramount Studios, hosted by Chef Jet Tila. The festival featured cuisine spanning the four regions of Thailand from celebrated chefs such as Sang Yoon (Lukshon), Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), David LeFevre (MB Post, Fishing with Dynamite), Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market) and Susan Feniger (Street) as well as restaurants that proudly serve up authentic Thai cuisine.
Tents lined Paramount Studios for the festival
Chiang Mai Khao Soi (braised beef curry noodle) from Jet Tila
Bamee Yok (Jade Noodles) from Sapp Coffee Shop
"Shrimp Donut" from Lucky Elephant
Khao Gee (savory stuffed sticky rice fritters) from Street
Miang Kam (fresh betel leaves topped with crab, prawn, kaffir lime limes, lemongrass, shallots, coconut, ginger, peanuts and Thai chili w/ liquid nitrogen frozen grapefruit) from Ayara Thai
Prik King Chicken from Siam Sunset
Pang Gee (coconut and taro fritter) and Kanom Beuang ("dessert taco") from Bhan Khanom Thai
Ruam Mit ("Thai treasures in coconut milk") from Bhan Khanom Thai
There were no duds in the impressive, well-curated vendor line-up, but a handful stood out from the rest:
Re-Imagined Thai Beef Salad w/ tongue, compressed cucumber, lettuce soup and crispy tomato from Sang Yoon (Lukshon)
BBQ Pork and Dry Curry Chicken w/ Rice from Jitlada
Suki Haeng (Thai stir-fried glass noodles, Napa cabbage, sprouts, carrots, water spinach, Chinese celery, tofu, eggs and a chili beancurd sukiyaki sauce) from Pok Pok
Yum Nua Beef Salad from Thai Nakorn
Koi Tuna (Issan tuna ceviche) from Night + Market
Som Tum and Kaw Moo Yaahng (green papaya salad and grilled pork) from Ruen Pair Restaurant
Blue Crab and Sweet Corn Green Chili from Chef David LeFevre (MB Post, Fishing with Dynamite)
This couple came prepared. I liked their style.
The festival also showcased Thai culture and artistry:
Flower garland making
Beautifully arranged flowers floating in a bowl of water
Muay Thai demonstration. If I wasn't wearing a dress, I would have asked them to let me in on the Thai pads action!
Intricate carvings...on fruit! Those are definitely the prettiest watermelons I've ever seen.
...and Curtis Stone (host of "Top Chef Masters," fellow Thai food fanatic, dreamboat) and Evan Kleiman (host of KCRW's "Good Food") in the middle of it.
A discussion of Thai food, culture and "authenticity" with David DeLefevre (MB Post, Fishing with Dynamite), Kris Yembanroong (Night + Market), Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), Curtis Stone and Evan Kleiman
The festival boasted delicious, diverse offerings, a perfect ratio well-known chefs to small restaurants, and a thought-provoking discussion. My only quibble? Very light Singha pours! In all seriousness, I hope this becomes a yearly event. Until then, I'm already dreaming about my next plate of pad see ew.