You can't have too much of a good thing -- that is, if you like Thai food. Next week you'll be able to prove this at two events that will provide all the curries, noodles, grilled meats and spicy salads that you could dream of.
The first ever National Thai Restaurant Week kicks off Monday, Sept. 23. For seven days, you'll get good deals at dozens of local Thai restaurants. Still hungry? Then you can fill up at L.A.'s first Thai Food Festival Sept. 29 at Paramount Pictures Studios.
The restaurant week special is 15% off your meal when it includes one of three "must-try" dishes at participating restaurants (drinks not included). The featured restaurants all have Thai Select awards from the Thai government, which means their food has been rated authentic and delicious.
Their "must tries" won't be the same old pad Thai and barbecued chicken, because the idea behind restaurant week is to get you to try more adventurous dishes. Examples are northern-style aeb pla, which is a grilled banana leaf packet of fish in turmeric curry, from Lum-Ka-Naad in Northridge; and northeastern dishes such as charcoal-grilled pork neck with spicy sauce from Isaan Station in Los Angeles.
Not everything will be super spicy. Lucky Elephant in San Dimas has come up with shrimp donuts with a sweet sauce, and Saladang Song in Pasadena will do grilled salmon and a grilled eggplant salad with shrimp. Pad Thai has not been ruled out, but Chan Dara's version will be upscale, with lobster and mussels, avocado and a chile-lime vinaigrette.
These are five of 55 California restaurants taking part, most of them in or near Los Angeles. Check out the Restaurant Week's Facebook page for the complete list and to download a discount coupon. And if you're out of town that week, don't worry -- the promotion extends through 14 western states and to the East Coast.
Thai Restaurant Week is a project of Thailand's Department of International Trade Promotion and the Los Angeles Thai Trade Center.
The trade center is hosting the Sept. 29 food festival, which is a separate event. Chef Jet Tila, the inaugural Thai culinary ambassador in the United States, has arranged the program.
"This is the only event in the States where Thai chefs and celeb non-Thai chefs are coming together to celebrate Thai culture," Tila said.
The non-Thai chefs include Curtis Stone, host of Bravo's Top Chef Masters; Evan Kleiman of KCRW's "Good Food"; Andy Ricker of Pok Pok; Susan Feniger of Street; Sang Yoon of Lukshon, and David LeFevre of Manhattan Beach Post and Fishing with Dynamite. Joining them will be Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market.
The food Tila has selected includes papaya salad and grilled pork from Ruen Pair, Sapp Coffee Shop's jade noodles, dry curry chicken and rice from Jitlada, pork leg over rice from Siam Sunset, grilled meatballs with sweet chili sauce from Bangkok Market, beef salad from Thai Nakorn and assorted desserts from Bhan Kanom Thai.
"We'll have Thai food from all regions," Tila said. Along with the food, look for culinary discussions, Thai beer and other drinks, demos of Thai boxing, classical and folk dancing, umbrella painting and fruit carving.
The festival takes place from 3:30 to 6 p.m., with 3 p.m. admission and preferred parking for VIP ticket holders. Ticket information and the location are here.