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Flavors of EmpireFood and the Making of Thai America$
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Mark Padoongpatt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293731

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293731.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 30 July 2021

“Chasing the Yum

“Chasing the Yum

Food Procurement and Early Thai Los Angeles

Chapter:
(p.56) Two “Chasing the Yum
Source:
Flavors of Empire
Author(s):

Mark Padoongpatt

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520293731.003.0003

This chapter examines the origins of Thai foodways inside the United States, focusing on food procurement as a community-building practice among Thai Americans in Los Angeles before free trade. Before the 1970s, Thai and Southeast Asian ingredients were not widely available, which led to a crisis of identity among Thai immigrants. The chapter follows Thai food entrepreneurs who resolved the crisis by developing a local supply of Thai ingredients, opening grocery stores like Bangkok Market, and starting import/export companies. Chapter 2 also discusses the first wave of Thai immigration. U.S. cultural diplomacy in Thailand encouraged thousands of Thais to obtain student visas to study in the United States. These college students were among the first to open Thai restaurants and food-related businesses in the city. Many, however, ultimately overstayed their visas and became "ex-documented."

Keywords:   procurement, Thai ingredients, free trade, import/export companies, Bangkok Market, Thai immigrants, student visas, ex-documented, Los Angeles

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