y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: More Six Taste - Little Tokyo and Thai Town Tours

More Six Taste - Little Tokyo and Thai Town Tours

The final of my Six Taste tours, last April/May, also group together nicely - Little Tokyo and Thai Town. I love Asian food, especially Japanese and Thai. So any tour with that type of food automatically gets a big YES from me.

The Little Tokyo tour began meeting at the front of the Japanese American National Musuem (JANM) with an orientation and snacks, where we guessed the ingredients. Mystery food is fun!

Our Tour Guide, Brian, then took us to Chado Tea Room where we learned a huge amount about premium teas and tasted several. We also enjoyed tastings of scones with clotted cream and preserves.

As an added bonus he gave those were interested a thorough overview of their green tea selection.

One of our curious stops, Mitsuru's Grill, provided the sushi one would expect on this tour (scallop and salmon), and Brian taught us proper sushi eating etiquette.

Mitsuru's unexpected diner style ambiance intrigued me. They appeared to serve both Japanese and American food.

The other place we visited that I'd always dismissed as probably too touristy, is Wakasaya. It's that place in the Japanese Village Plaza Mall that you pass by that offers a huge $50+ seafood bowl that is free if one can finish it within 15 minutes.

They specialize in donburi, or rice bowls with various toppings, and are known for very fresh seafood and spicy, fresh wasabi that can serve as a weapon if you eat it too fast or too much of it.

On our tour we had mini bowls of udon (noodles) in broth and negi toro (chopped up toro - fatty tuna belly) donburi.

The plethora of sauces leave something for all tastes, but in honesty, the food did not need much. I've since returned there twice.

All our tastings did not fall under the old school Japanese style. We also ate at Four Leaf to try their Smoking Bird crepe, filled with tea smoked chicken, and some of their tasty beverages.

They profess to have the best boba in town, which I returned to taste and wrote about in a prior post about an event at Little Tokyo.

Another feature of historic Little Tokyo, along 1st Street, I'd walked by repeatedly but never noticed the engraved brass colored plaques under our feet showing each business and year established at that very spot.

One listing mentions 1890 when approximately 40 Japanese people lived in Old Little Tokyo.

A black row eloquently represents World War II and the internment period of the Japanese people.

We stopped at Fugetsu-do, a most charming confectioner which moved to the area in 1930. One feels almost transported back in time upon entering the store. One look at the old school kitchen and traditional methods brought a warm feeling.

We tasted this gorgeous rainbow colored, wonderfully squishy mochi, a glutinous rice cake with various stuffings or condiments.

Mitsuru Cafe also rocked it with their freshly made on the spot, warm and steaming, imagawayaki cakes filled with red bean. The combination of the chewy pastry with melt-in-your mouth red bean paste really works on many levels.

And while on the subject of desserts, Mikawaya's Mochi ice cream shop also hit the spot. You've probably seen their boxed mochi ice cream boxes at Trader Joe's and many other markets.

They've taken it a step further with their "mochilato", simply mochi + gelato. The colors and flavors catch the eye and it's hard to choose just 1 or 2. I went with chocolate hazelnut, and returned a couple of times to try other flavors, still holding out for plum!

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Thai Town

We met our Thai Town Tour Guide, Lalita, right at this Thai Angel monument, one of a few statues along Hollywood Boulevard, protecting Thai Town.

Our snacking started right away with fresh tamarind fruit pods. Another first of this tour were handouts with our stops and menu, Thai phrases and cultural notes and more.

It turns out Lalita is a professor, and this tour definitely packs a punch in terms of lessons and activity. 

We visited the Silom Market to learn about Thai ingredients. Tucked away in a corner this woman prepared some kanom beuang,sweet and savory taco-like shells with egg and other items mixed in.

Our spicy stops were interspersed with sweet stops. I would have preferred more spice/savory options, thinking that anyone signing up for a Thai food tour should be able to handle the spice level.

The spicy hot spectrum might have peaked with this pad kee mao, or drunken noodle chicken, at Sanamluang Cafe. I've enjoyed many meals at this establishment (you can read my post on another location of theirs), and this was no exception.

Not to be overshadowed by the exquisite roasted duck noodle soup at Sanamluang Cafe. It just hit all the right tastebuds.

Our heat quencher at Siam Sunset consisted of a choice of various drinks. I went with the coconut palm sugar juice because it's the only item I had not tried. Deeply refreshing with crushed ice, very sweet and it leaves a sort of butterscotch or even buttery taste in one's mouth.

Our beverages washed down some pa-tong-go, or Chinese donuts dipped in condensed milk. I could dip cardboard in condensed milk and probably wouldn't mind!

We proceeded on to the popular Ruen Pair for their moo daid diew pork jerky with chili dipping sauce. The plates were cleared in no time.

We unraveled plastic wrap coated sticky rice served in straw containers.

At Ruen Pair we also tried some Thai papaya salad, known as som tam. My dear friend and former college roommate Lida, introduced me to this dish during our college days.

It's made with shredded, unripened green papaya, shrimp paste, fish sauce, lime, chili and many of the traditional Thai ingredients.

Due to the mixed group, this version was prepared on the mild side, but packed a lot of flavor.

If that looks like a lot of food for a 3-hour or so tour, let me add that we also had a ginger fish dish and coconut ice cream at Red Corner Asia, Issan Northern Thai style slightly sour sausage, and one of my favorite desserts of all time, the mouth-watering grilled coconut milk cakes at Bhan Kanom Thai (you can find a photo towards the very end of this post)

We stopped for fresh sugar cane juice, a childhood favorite of mine, but the shop was closed.

Eventually we returned to the Thai Plaza area to admire this beautiful shrine. We took a second quick walk through Silom Market where Lalita tirelessly helped some of us find Thai ingredients to buy, and offered us some Thai candies.

I also bought an aluminum, fancy Thai style tiffin box to add to my small collection.

Overall after attending 6 of the 7 regularly scheduled Six Taste tours so far, I can say without a doubt that they are all enjoyable, educational and a treat for the palate. The guides put in lots of energy, enthusiasm and authenticity into it.

My perfect setup is food paced with walking to avoid the constant state of fullness, and balancing activity with a sprinkling of down time to better take in all the experiences and flavors.

They've also started specialty tours to bring even more adventures into the mix.

5 Responses to “More Six Taste - Little Tokyo and Thai Town Tours”:

  1. Anonymous says:

    The pictures are fantastic , specially the Thai food looks so delicious .... Keep it up , Wasima . Enjoyed your Blog ... very interesting writing ...

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words - on both the photography and writing. It made my day, and also motivates me to keep it up!

  3. mijo says:

    Aww my favorite foodies got together. The som tam makes me want to dump everything I have and fly right back! Wish I was in the picture holding one of these black bags with six taste proudly printed. What's in there btw?

  4. Mijo, we wish you were with us in person too. The bags are given to people at the beginning of the tour to store paperwork, purchases, leftovers - whatever gets accumulated during the 3 or so hours.

  5. Thanks for uploading this post. I enjoyed looking at the pics.

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