03 Sep Delicious Thai Food on Westwood Blvd at Emporium Thai
Westwood Blvd is lined with restaurants and sometimes it can be difficult to pick one. I will make it easy for you. Head to Emporium Thai. Family-owned and operated since 2000, Emporium Thai specializes in Southern Thai cuisine and is a special find in the middle of Westwood.
Many people know this already. Emporium Thai has been awarded Most Favorite Thai Restaurant 2016 (L.A. City Guide), L.A.’s Best Thai Restaurant outside of Thai Town (Los Angeles Travel Magazine), Westwood’s Unmissable Restaurant (Thrillist), The Hip Side of LA 2015 (The Culture Trip) and the People Love Us on Yelp Award 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In addition to all the awards, Emporium Thai has a famous sibling, Jitlada on Sunset. Both restaurants are owned by the Sungkamee family who emigrated from Thailand in 1990 when Supis Sungkamee won the green card lottery. John, the youngest of 12 siblings, was under the age of 21 at the time and was able to come with his mother. He obtained a bachelor’s degree and an MBA and worked as a software engineer, managing the restaurants on the side. Eventually all of his siblings emigrated to America and all entered the restaurant industry.
For a while, John managed both Jitlada and Emporium Thai but today one of his sisters owns and runs Jitlada and John and his sister Gina run Emporium Thai. Inspired by their mother, Gina studied at Bangkok’s most prestigious culinary school and today is the executive chef of Emporium Thai.
The restaurant is not very large but it has a warm and inviting feeling. At the end of the restaurant, John has put in a bar and hanging over the bar are two portraits of his mother who passed away a few years ago.
The food at Emporium Thai is full of flavor and very delicious. The menu has familiar dishes on it, ranging from appetizers, soups and salads to curries, noodles and rice dishes. The menu also has a section dedicated to vegetarian and vegan dishes. Most importantly, everything is fresh and tastes light and healthy.
Crispy Rice Salad Wrap (Nam Khao Tod) – crispy rice with soured pork, raw ginger, onions, peanuts, cilantro, chili, served with lettuce
Thai Buffalo Wings – crispy chicken wings with Thai spices
Spicy Eggplant – sautéed eggplant stir-fried with Thai basil, garlic, bells and spicy sauce
Southern Curry – This special family recipe that goes back three generations is with jicama, basil, bell pepper in a house-made Southern curry. We also added chicken. There is no MSG and no fish sauce in the curries and you can pick a spice level of 1-10.
Fried Turmeric Whole Fish – Whole New Zealand Red Snapper in turmeric and garlic spice rub and deep-fried to crunchiness served with a sweet tamarind sauce.
Pad Thai – Pan-fried rice noodles with scrambled eggs, bean sprouts, green onion and crushed peanuts with shrimp
Fresh Mango With Sweet Sticky Rice – a seasonal, fresh and delicious dessert
Unlike most Thai restaurants, Emporium Thai offers a full selection of wines, beers and sake and John is continually building the wine list to offer interesting wines that pair well with the food.