In this Book

University of California Press
summary
With a uniquely balanced combination of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors, Thai food burst onto Los Angeles's culinary scene in the 1980s. Flavors of Empire examines the rise of Thai food and the way it shaped the racial and ethnic contours of Thai American identity and community. Full of vivid oral histories and new material from the archives, this book explores the factors that made foodways central to the Thai American experience. Starting with American Cold War intervention in Thailand, Mark Padoongpatt traces how informal empire allowed U.S. citizens to discover Thai cuisine abroad and introduce it inside the United States. When Thais arrived in Los Angeles, they reinvented and repackaged Thai food in various ways to meet the rising popularity of the cuisine in urban and suburban spaces. Padoongpatt opens up the history, politics, and tastes of Thai food for the first time, all while demonstrating how race emerges in seemingly mundane and unexpected places.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Series Info, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xviii
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  1. Introduction: From Thailand to Thai Town
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. 1 • “One Night in Bangkok”: Food and the Everyday Life of Empire
  2. pp. 24-55
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  1. 2 • “Chasing the Yum”: Food Procurement and Early Thai Los Angeles
  2. pp. 56-84
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  1. 3 • Too Hot to Handle? Restaurants and Thai American Identity
  2. pp. 85-117
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  1. 4 • “More Than a Place of Worship”: Food Festivals and Thai American Suburban Culture
  2. pp. 118-146
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  1. 5 • Thailand’s “77th Province”: Culinary Tourism in Thai Town
  2. pp. 147-173
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  1. Conclusion: Beyond Cooking and Eating
  2. pp. 174-190
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 191-238
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 239-249
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  1. Further Series Titles
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