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Thai Town: A Photographic Tour


An apsonsi marks the entrance to Thai TownRuen Pair's green papaya salad; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

A trip to the Far East may be out of reach, but if you can make it to the far east of Hollywood you'll find the vibrant neighborhood of Thai Town, where Thai traditions meld with urban trends on a six-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard between Normandie and Western. Photographer Colin Young-Wolff captures it all in this stunning gallery of one of L.A.'s lively ethnic enclaves.

On tour with chef Jet Tila; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

On tour with chef Jet Tila; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Since food is one of the main draws of Thai Town, we tapped celebrity chef (and honorary Mayor of Thai Town) Jet Tila by taking a tour of the neighborhood with him, stopping at Ruen Pair, Saap Coffee Shop, Red Corner Asia and Bhan Kanom Thai. In sampling some of Tila's favorite dishes we discovered the four flavors of Thai food (sour, spicy, salty, sweet), the “real” sriracha and when to properly use chop sticks.

Ruen Pair's green papaya salad; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Ruen Pair's green papaya salad; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Tila claims that Ruen Pair's green papaya salad is the best in the nation. It contains chopped papaya mixed with green beans, tomato, dried shrimp, ground peanuts and lime juice and is served with cabbage.

On Saturday mornings, Buddhist monks from all over Southern California descend on the Thai Plaza for food offerings and to give blessings.

See also: Our full Thai Town photo gallery

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

And as day turns into night…

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

…the sidewalks clear and people begin taking refuge in the bars. The nightlife in Thai Town is as diverse as its people, with choices ranging from hidden Thai favorite Darabar to the hip Harvard and Stone to the infamous strip joint Jumbo's Clown Room.

Bartender at Durabar; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Bartender at Durabar; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Party people at Harvard and Stone; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Party people at Harvard and Stone; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

An exotic dancer at Jumbo's Clown Room; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

An exotic dancer at Jumbo's Clown Room; Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

Thai Town is also home to incredible architecture and street art, as well as a colorful cast of characters. To get the full effect, see our complete Thai Town gallery here.

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