Big Flavors

Ganda, in Hollywood’s Thai Town, serves the most authentic Thai food in America.

Let’s just get right to it: Ganda, a restaurant in the heart of Hollywood’s Thai Town, serves the most authentic Thai food in America. Why? Well, the steam table near the entrance is a clue. On any given day, chef-owner Sue Klinmalai prepares around two dozen perfectly executed Thai dishes, including gai pa lo, or stewed pork belly, and nam prik gapi, a chile paste that’s hot enough to curl your hair. The a la carte menu also has on-point Thai classics, like suup naw mai, a bamboo shoot salad with fresh mint and shallots, but Klinmalai’s varied and vibrant creations on the buffet are the stars of the show. On a recent visit to LA, I went to Ganda five days in a row for the pla duk pad ped, or crispy catfish. This central-Thai specialty—catfish dry-braised in galangal, Kaffir lime leaves, and an abundance of spices—is probably my favorite thing to eat in LA.