Cuisine Scene: Thai
Long Beach – nicknamed the International City – is the perfect dining destination for those seeking foreign flavors.
There are dozens of restaurants in town that specialize in Thai food, whether you’re looking for delicacies hailing from Thailand’s vibrant capital city of Bangkok or from the country’s verdant northern farmlands. If you’re looking to satisfy a craving for delicious Southeast Asian cuisine, here’s a sample of some of Long Beach’s many can’t-miss Thai eateries.
Thai District – East Village Arts District
Flavors from the northern part of Thailand brilliantly mingle with notes that are both citrusy and spicy. Thai District (149 Linden Ave.), an elaborately decorated two-story restaurant in the historic Broadlind building in the heart of downtown’s East Village Arts District, specializes in those complex and wonderful flavors. The subtleties of the food come from different imported spices and deliberate cooking, with thought put into the texture of each recipe. Don’t miss Thai District’s Hung-Lay, a spiced and braised pork belly and pork loin made with tamarind, turmeric, fresh ginger, peanuts and roasted young garlic.
Panvimarn – Parkview Village
A hidden gem, Panvimarn (4101 Bellflower Blvd.) is well known to locals as having some of the best Thai food in town served in luxury. Skip the to-go orders and dress up a bit for an opulent dining experience you wouldn’t expect to find in a mini-mall. Peruse a delightful and seemingly endless menu that has a little of everything, with sections labeled “Oodles of Noodles,” “Rice is Nice,” and “Panvimarn 9 Curries.” And, like most Thai eateries, there are plenty of “Meatless Meal” options for vegetarians.
Manaow – Belmont Heights
Looking for a taste of Bangkok street food? Go no further than Manaow Thai (3618 E. Broadway). Because Bangkok is a city of migrants from different regions of Thailand, the streets of the city are permeated with different spices and herbs from bustling street stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries that the mother-daughter owners of Manaow have imported for Long Beach foodies to experience. This trendy little restaurant in an unassuming strip mall in Belmont Heights has the best Moo Ping BBQ Pork Skewers, which are marinated overnight before being grilled and dipped in a spicy jaew chili sauce.
Elephant Thai Kitchen – Central Long Beach
The spicy Elephant Thai Kitchen (2087 Long Beach Blvd.) is focused on authentic and distinct dishes that Thailand is best known for, with some modern twists. Located in central Long Beach for convenient pick-up orders, the restaurant’s flavorful soups and noodle dishes are a hot commodity for locals with a craving for something fiery yet comforting, including Thai8Boat Noodle (with the menu proclaiming this “the most popular beef soup in Bangkok”) and the Tom Yum Noodle, a hot and sour soup served with minced pork, shrimp and chopped peanuts.
Kin Thai – East Village Arts District
A relative newcomer to the Thai food scene in Long Beach, Kin Long Beach has made a splash with its beautiful décor, lengthy menu, and dishes and drinks that are just as eye catching as they are tasty. Be sure to order their Thai iced tea, whimsically topped with a popsicle.
Bai Plu – Los Altos & North Alamitos Beach
A combination of two incredible Asian cuisines, Bai Plu Thai & Sushi (2119 N. Bellflower Blvd.) and Aki Sushi Bar & Bai Plu (1626 E. 7th St.) save you from having to choose between Thai and Japanese tonight – you can have a little of both, whether you’re sitting at the sushi bar, lounging in the dining room or grabbing something to-go. Bai Plu is the place to combine the familiar with something exotic from a Thai section on the menu labeled “The Wild Things” with dishes like Beef Jerky, which is deep-fried dehydrated beef served with spicy Thai sauce. Don’t skip the Sticky Rice with Mango for a sweet dessert.