From Pad Thai to Tom Yum: History of Los Angeles Thai Food

Are you curious to learn about the history of Los Angeles Thai food? If so, you have come to the right place. Los Angeles is known for having a diverse foodie culture, and one of the most popular cuisines is Thai food. Our staff at Emporium Thai Restaurant is proud to represent one of the most celebrated Thai restaurants in the city.  This article will explore the history of Thai food in Los Angeles, with an emphasis on two of the most popular dishes: pad thai and tom tum. 

A Brief History of Thai Cuisine in LA

Thai cuisine made its debut in Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s when Thai immigrants started to settle in the city. At first, Thai food was scarce, with just a few restaurants in Little Tokyo offering the cuisine. Over the years, more Thai restaurants emerged in various parts of the city. In the 1980s and 1990s, Thai food gained its fandom, and today, Southern California is home to the largest community of Thai people outside of Thailand. 

Emporium Thai Restaurant's Pad Thai

When it comes to the best Thai food in Los Angeles, what is the first meal that comes to mind? If you thought pad thai, you wouldn’t be the only one to make this guess. Pad Thai is a staple of Thai cuisine, and Emporium Thai Restaurant's version is a fan-favorite amongst LA foodies. If you are looking for Thai food near Brentwood, Emporium Thai is a convenient location. The dish consists of pan-fried rice noodles with scrambled eggs, bean sprouts, green onion, and crushed peanuts. You can add your choice of protein to the dish for an additional cost and even opt for a gluten-free option.

Historians believe pad thai originated as a dish in the 1930s in Thailand as part of a government initiative to promote nationalism. Believe it or not, the dish was invented by a politician. The dish was created by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, a man who played a significant role in the 1932 military coup that dethroned the Thai monarchy. Being a patriot, the man decided to invent a national dish that could reflect the country’s rich culture and heritage.

Emporium Thai Restaurant's Tom Yum

Tom yum, or Thai lemongrass soup, is a world-famous dish known for its spicy and sour flavors. Emporium Thai Restaurant's version of tom yum is made with fresh lemongrass, mushrooms, chiles, lime, and any choice of protein.

Although the precise origins of tom yum soup are unknown, historians believe the dish stems from Central Thai, where there was an ample supply of shrimp in the Chao Phraya River. 


If you are craving delicious and authentic Los Angeles Thai food, look no further than Emporium Thai Restaurant. Our pad thai and tom yum are just two examples of the culturally rich meals you can find at our restaurant. Whether you enjoy spicy, sour soups or prefer sweet, savory rice noodles, there is something on the menu for everyone to enjoy.