Big Flavors

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

Dipping up food
Serving up the most authentic Thai food in AmericaPenny De Los Santos

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.