Jitlada cooks from the heart

By Emma Limor ’21

Hollywood, a location famous for its film industry and its glamorous appeal, has many undiscovered layers to it.  Tucked away from the Walk of Fame and other sites are the quiet streets that host authentic food.  Thai town, or North Hollywood, is a dark and

When my GPS directed me to a strip mall across the street from a 99 Cents Only Store, a Thai bakery and an herbal massage place, I knew Jitlada was the real deal.  It stands out as the only restaurant in the North Hollywood neighborhood that has a $10 valet.  Jitlada is a renowned southern Thai restaurant known for its spice-infused curries. The moment I stepped through the door, I could feel the love.  The walls are decorated with endless awards, which only builds the excitement to taste their food.  The restaurant is cozy with fewer than 15 tables.  There is a Buddha room in the back, and the back wall is aligned with countless miniature Buddhas. Completely family owned and run, passion is both present in their food and their hospitality.

Jitlada hosted a tribute event on Nov. 9 to commemorate its head chef Tui Sungkamee who had recently passed away.  His sister, chef Jazz Singsanong, took over the family business that served as a manifestation of their experience of the American dream.

“I came from Thailand, with my family, all we had was one suitcase and $200….that is the American dream,” Singsanong said.

 

 

The chef’s passion to retain Thai culture is apparent in their authentic food.  The Crispy Morning Glory Salad’s name gives customers enough justification to eat this heaping pile of fried food.  Comprised of a variety of deep fried vegetables topped with fresh basil, carrots, shrimp and red onions, the salad’s several notes of flavor create a unique balance.  On top of this, the textural variety is impeccable.  With the crunch of the fried vegetables, snap of the raw onion and the tender bite of the shrimp, the salad is so texturally diverse that it is irresistible.

 

The Tom Kha Soup is a carefully crafted southern Thai delicacy.  Utilizing coconut, lemongrass, chili and ginger, it provides a deep complexity of flavor.  Its aroma wafts through the restaurant as it is served, and as you eat it, it warms your soul.

 

Jitlada serves red, yellow and green curries with choices of proteins including pork, lamb and beef and a spice range of one to 10.  The spicy lamb red curry is vibrant with seven different types of crushed chilis.  Just the smell of it is enough to make eyes sting, and the taste of it clarifies sinuses.  As endorphins kick in, each burning yet flavorful bite leaves you craving more.

 

In conclusion, I would recommend Jitlada as its food is a reflection of genuine love, despite the loss of a loved one that this family-owned restaurant endured.  Each dish is authentic, and their recipes, brought from south Thailand, connect customers back to the Southern Thai culture.

 

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