Recently, Foodbeast was invited to Los Angeles for the Melting Pot Tours' tour of Thai Town with celebrity chef, Jet Tila. Chef Jet was appointed as the inaugural Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine by the Royal Thai Consul-General in 2013. He is the first-ever chef to represent his country's culture and cuisine in the U.S.
Chef Jet has also set many world records including world's largest stir fry and longest California Roll and has appeared in many cooking shows throughout his career. However, no matter how much he's accomplished, he hasn't forgotten where he came from and the Thai community that made him who he is. He was kind enough to give Foodbeast a detailed tour of his old stomping grounds, restaurants and all.
Started off the tour at Reun Pair with this savory dish. Deep-fried marinated pork served with Yum sauce. Holy crap this was good.
Sticky rice meant to be eaten alongside the pork and dipped together into the yum sauce.
The yum sauce is made mostly from fish sauce, chilies and palm sugar. Definitely the right amount of spicy and sweet.
Green Papaya Salad
Chopped papaya mixed with green beans, dried shrimp, tomato, ground peanuts, cabbage and lime juice. A really refreshing dish that was light enough to go with the pork and rice.
Sapp Coffee Shop
Jade noodles served with roasted duck, BBQ pork and crab meat. You gotta mix it together and squeeze some lime juice on it for the full effect. The marinate on the pork and the duck were phenomenal.
A hot and sour soup broth served with BBQ pork, shrimp, trout fish balls, green beans and noodles. At first I was pretty nervous to try this, with all the different combinations of ingredients. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed this dish. The broth was heartily packed with flavor and all the meats were spot on.
Siam Books Center
After two sit-down restaurants in a span of under two hours, we had to walk off some of those dishes. Jet took us to a local Thai bookstore across the street.
Tons of cool Thai gifts, statues and books here, including many items representing the importance of elephants within Thai culture.
We got to check out a local grocery store that is a staple in the Thai community in Los Angeles. Chef Jet, who's family owned the market since the '70s, showed us some of the fresh produce that surrounding Thai restaurants use in their dishes as well as the Thai community to cook at home.
Thai Spirit House
A miniature house or temple mounted on a pillar in the neighborhood. A shrine dedicated to appease the spirits of the area so that they may offer the community protection.
Red Corner Asia Restaurant
Spicy Thai Basil Pork Stir Fry with Fried Egg
The last savory dish of the tour. Between the crazy amounts of flavor in the stir fry and the crispy fried egg, the tasting ended on a great note.
Bhan Kanom Thai
A box of assorted desserts from Bhan Kanom Thai. Kanom Krok (Roasted Coconut Pancakes), Tokyo (Crepe filled with Pandan Cream), Pachi (Taro Coconut Corn Fritter), Kanom Chun (Layered Coconut and Pandan Gelee), Kanom Buang (Thai Sweet and Savory Tacos), Jasmine Sticky Rice Cakes and Coconut Mochi balls.