Another weekend, another food festival....or two or three. These culinary events seem to take place with greater frequency in LA than movie premieres. Still, when celebrity chef Jet Tila--featured as the People Profile in the summer issue of California Meetings + Events--launches the inaugural Thai Food Festival in collaboration with the Thai Trade Center Los Angeles, it's a not-to-be-missed occasion. The gathering took place on the lot of Paramount Pictures Studios on a brilliantly sunny Sunday afternoon and celebrated the five different regions of Thai cuisine. There was green papaya salad and grilled pork, smoked beef tongue and compressed cucumber, Thai stir-fried glass noodles, blue crab and sweet corn in green curry, jade noodles with minced crab, fatty pork leg with pickled vegetables, tuna ceviche on a crispy rice cracker, shrimp toast, braised beef salad in a spicy chile sauce, and, to, take away the heat of these dishes, fresh coconut juice, Thai gelatin desserts and shaved ice.
The foodies crowd was wowed by the bites.But, what made the event especially interesting from a meetings perspective were the novel and numerous activities outside the food stalls. Thai massage was offered inside a gauzy white tent, women in traditional Thai costumes carved fruit into stunning sculptures, created flower arrangements and handed out mangosteens, durians and rambutans, fruits typically sold in markets throughout Southeast Asia, but rarely seen in Southern California. If you looked at Facebook in the days after the festival, these Thai ambassadors were featured in nearly as many photos as the food itself, a pretty reliable indicator of just how popular they were.
It was all "aroy mak mak," a very delicious day.
California Meetings + Events