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A RESTAURANT REVIEW :  
THAI OCHA



Interview by Marc Basil 

12.23


 

verse : 
The chasm on a recollection of events. The series of domineering effects. Something tells me that things will either go really good or really bad again and again. That worry does not matter much though, or at least not until things are said and done and go.

     You never know how good of a condition your car is in until it’s broken down in the most untimely circumstance. But even this is an eventful thing to look forward to with the right music playing.

     When your hair goes up in flames you should know this isn’t my first date. Bandage upon a scaly scalp when we’ve gone too far not even past the first-degree burn. Poh Tak seafood soup with the burner on high. Our dinner tonight has ignited, and so has the conflict three tables down. Everyone has stopped stirring their Thai milk tea so diligently to notice what’s the new thing being sold. ¿Floresitas para tu novia enojada? Flowers for your angry girlfriend?

Don’t make eye contact and maybe it won’t be so awkward of an interaction. I, on the other hand, have been looking at people dead on. As dead as the shrimp in this fried rice and as garnished as the cilantro.

No, now I am serious, and a serious writer has no time for folly jokes.

     The most comfort can be found in knowing that you’re sitting in a booth while others spectate the disaster from their four-pronged chairs. This hierarchy makes your food come fast with the expense of an elephant falling on your head or your face melting off.

     This ride home isn’t going to be any more decent than the bill. But, in the long run, I at least have watermelon candy to keep me thinking of all the unregistered vehicles in traffic.


Review

      The fusion of Thai and Latino is a strong unbreakable link that exists in an overcrowded parking lot, waiting line, and restroom line. Black and red, white and red tiles, paint my heart white. The center of the divide is unnoticeable as there isn’t one here. Everything about the birthplace of 835 S Vermont Ave is a welcoming front as it neighbors a Salvadoran restaurant and employs and feeds the Central American and Mexican community.

     Among customers and restaurant staff, theories abound as to how the connection was forged. Dolly Porsawatdee, 30, who runs the restaurant with her family, thinks it’s probably a culinary happenstance. Poh Tak, a spicy, sour Thai seafood soup prepared with lemongrass, chicken broth and basil, tastes somewhat similar to caldo de siete mares, a seafood soup flavored with chicken broth, lime and epazote served all over Mexico, Central and South America.1

     This soup is a legend within itself. It is served at every table every time I am here and one night I watched a woman’s hair go up in flames as she leaned a bit too far over the fire pot on what looked to be a date she was on. There’s no doubt that her date and everyone there would remember this particular occasion for moments to come. The intimately unexpected is what stands out about Thai Ocha and similar establishments that are ingrained within their community and the service provided. The mix match of two ethnic backgrounds melds into one to create this unexpected unison that is able to create a cohesive service. From tradition, culinary ability, and the art of experience, these are the people that make the effort to cement fleeting moments. The routine of consistency practiced by restaurant businesses provides safety to our ever-growing existence. There’s a certain kind of comfort that can be found when the trust in one thing at least reliable in human creation exists on a plate or place.




References

[1]     Shyong, Frank. “Column: How did a Thai restaurant chain become so beloved by immigrants

          from Mexico and Central America?” L.A. Times, April, 2022,

          https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-04-08/ocha-thai-ktown


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