Title Page, Series Info, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xviii

It is quite remarkable to think about all of the people—activists, colleagues, friends, family, and people I barely even knew—who had a hand in helping this book come into being. I owe an incredible debt to Chancee Martorell and the Thai Community Development Center, who enthusiastically supported my research and gave me full access to every document they had on Thai Town. ...

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Introduction: From Thailand to Thai Town

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pp. 1-23

Flavors of Empire explores the rise of Thai food in Los Angeles and the way its hypervisibility shaped the racial and ethnic contours of Thai American identity and community. The interplay between food, identity, and community in Thai America began not with Thai immigrants bringing food practices with them to the United States, ...

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1 • “One Night in Bangkok”: Food and the Everyday Life of Empire

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pp. 24-55

In 1965 Marie Wilson published Siamese Cookery, the first Thai cookbook in the United States. As a self-described homemaker from West Los Angeles, Wilson wrote and illustrated the cookbook to encourage fellow homemakers to cook Thai food in their own kitchens. She assured readers that while “there is nothing plain about Thai cooking,” ...

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2 • “Chasing the Yum”: Food Procurement and Early Thai Los Angeles

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pp. 56-84

In 1971, the grand opening of the Bangkok Market in East Hollywood, California, marked a watershed in the history of Thai food culture and Thai American community formation in the United States. Pramorte “Pat” Tilakamonkul, a Thai immigrant who arrived in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-six, opened a grocery store on the northwest corner of Melrose ...

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3 • Too Hot to Handle? Restaurants and Thai American Identity

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pp. 85-117

In 1976 Tommy Tang caught a break. The manager of a Thai rock band landed his first restaurant gig as lead cook at the new Chan Dara in West Hollywood. Tang, who had been working dozens of odd jobs since his arrival in the city from Thailand in 1972, obtained the position after being recruited by a band member’s girlfriend who was working at the restaurant.1 ...

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4 • “More Than a Place of Worship”: Food Festivals and Thai American Suburban Culture

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pp. 118-146

In the crisp, early morning hours of Saturday, April 17, 1982, dozens of Thais from across Southern California arrived at Wat Thai of Los Angeles in preparation for the first day of a much-anticipated weekend festival to celebrate the Thai New Year’s holiday and the 200th anniversary of King Rama I’s decision to move the capital of Siam to Bangkok in 1782 ...

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5 • Thailand’s “77th Province”: Culinary Tourism in Thai Town

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pp. 147-173

Thais in Los Angeles continued to confront a range of social, economic, and political problems into the 1990s. In the face of global economic restructuring, increased privatization, and slashes in social spending as part of the eradication of the “welfare state,” Thai American leaders developed official organizations to try and gain access to social services, ...

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Conclusion: Beyond Cooking and Eating

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pp. 174-190

As a second-generation Thai American born and raised in Los Angeles, I wrote Flavors of Empire because I was vexed by the hypervisibility of Thai food and the invisibility of Thai people in the United States. Without a doubt Thai food is an important part of Thai American life ...

Notes

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pp. 191-238

Index

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pp. 239-249

Further Series Titles

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