There’s no more compelling reason to head to Thailand than to savor its vibrant cuisine firsthand. But if you aren’t able to book it to Bangkok, there are a number of noteworthy restaurants where you can truly experience the fragrant, bold flavors of Thai cooking in the United States. From Portland, OR to Washington, DC, here are 10 of our favorite places to enjoy Thai food (none of which involve an overnight flight!).
San Francisco and Oakland, California
At Hawker Fare, Michelin-starred chef James Syhabout serves the home-style Thai food of his childhood in a street stall-inspired setting. Order a laab (minced meat salad) off the menu and prepare to be delighted.
New York, New York
At this laid-back Lower East Side eatery, northeast Thai region Isan is the star of the menu, which is packed with grilled meats, green papaya salads and ground meat with fresh herbs.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Some of the most beloved Thai food in the country can be found at a strip mall in Nevada. At this James Beard Award–winning restaurant, you’ll enjoy excellent renditions of Thai favorites like chicken satay and papaya salad.
Portland, Oregon, New York and Los Angeles
The menu at Pok Pok is filled with Northern Thai favorites that aren’t watered down for the American palate. Don’t miss the wings, which are marinated in garlic, sugar and fish sauce.
Los Angeles, California
LA’s most famous Thai food comes out of a mini mall in East Hollywood. Expect fragrant Southern Thai dishes like celebrity chicken (stir-fried crispy chicken topped with fried basil) and green curry.
San Francisco, California
Bangkok native and early food blogger Pim Techamuanvivit opened Kin Khao so she could eat the Thai food she grew up with. Come for the explosively flavored dishes, like Pretty Hot Wings and Chili Jam Clams, and stay for the balanced cocktails.
You won’t find sickly sweet pad Thai at this food truck, a trailer parked in the back of a craft cocktail bar. Instead, the menu boasts beef panang curry, grilled pork with Tiger Cry sauce and more—all for $10 or less.
Follow the line down to this basement restaurant, which has no phone and no reservations, and you’ll be rewarded with a seven-course, family-style menu that feels like a dinner party thrown at a Thai friend’s house.
Los Angeles, California
Night + Market, a dimly-lit spot on the Sunset Strip with folding chairs, long communal tables and fiery orange walls, specializes in dishes like sour sausage, curried crab, fried pig tail and other Northern Thai street food favorites.
One of Chicago’s most popular Thai spots is Sticky Rice, a colorful, no-frills, BYOB storefront that serves deeply satisfying curries, stir-fries and noodles made to order, and a killer coconut curry khao soi.
Tell us: Where’s the best place you’ve ever eaten Thai food? Share your favorite discoveries with the rest of us in the comments below.
I have tried Thai restaurants all over the country and my favorite is Siam Palace in Miami. Oh my god, up and down the menu the dishes are amazing!
[…] 10 Great Tastes of Thai Cuisine in America […]
In Dearborn, Michigan there’s a very popular gem called Bangkok 96. The hot and sour soup is known as “crack soup” because it is insanely addicting! Love their grilled specialties with tiger tear sauce and pad thai and house fried rice is AMaZING!!!!!
Ha – what a funny nickname!
My favorite Thai restaurant is BaiTong in Seattle. I love that their menu is full of pictures. The crispy garlic chicken is hard to top! The drunken noodles were very tasty. Another great place is also in Seattle…called Bhudda Ruksa.
Thanks for sharing, Ann!
The Best Thai I have had was in Nurnberg Germany although there is a great place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as well! But in the US, Leavenworth, KS has a hidden gem of a Thai restaurant that you should really check out if you are in the area. Wonderful food, and great service at reasonable prices. Orlando, FL also has a great Thai restaurant over by the Sea World and you can also believe you are in Thailand with the great ambience as well!
Kristin: Those spots sound like such hidden gems!