Grand Central Market has always been a bustling Downtown destination, but with new vendors moving in now at a regular clip, that bustle has been infused with an exciting, palpable energy that can be felt from the Hill Street side of the market to Broadway side. Much of this energy is concentrated at Sticky Rice, one of the first of the new Market tenants. Located in a small stall a hop away from mainstays Sarita’s Pupuseria and Roast to Go, the open kitchen here cooks up a small but terrific selection of Thai street food. In addition to one or two curries, you’ll find gai yang ($9), a very good Thai BBQ chicken served with Thai BBQ sauce, sticky rice and a fine papaya salad, and khao mun gai ($9), a comforting Thai-style Hainan chicken served with garlic rice, a small bowl of chicken soup and a fermented soy bean sauce that you’ll likely put on almost everything else you’ve ordered. And while these will hit the spot when you're craving comfort food, don’t leave without trying the Northern Thai sausage ($8): Stuffed with lemongrass and pork with a tinge of spice, this might be one of the best sausages in town, Thai or otherwise.
Eat this: There are only a handful of dishes on the menu here, and you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose. Any of the daily specials are worth considering, and don't miss the Thai sausage when it's on the menu. Vegetarians should keep an eye out for the excellent vegetable green curry ($7). For dessert, the only option is a solid one: Mango with sticky rice ($4, half, $7, full) that is sweet, but not cloyingly so.
Drink this: There is no alcohol here; opt instead for the Thai iced tea with your meal. Occasionally, a fresh young coconut ($5) will show up on the menu, perfect for a warm SoCal day.
Sit here: Sit at the counter, in front of the open kitchen—it's like being a diner that happens to serve stellar Thai food. Otherwise, take your order to go and enjoy your meal at any of the tables scattered throughout the market. —Tien Nguyen (October 16, 2013)
Downtown's historic Grand Central Market is the home of Sticky Rice, the newest addition to LA's oldest, open-air market. Among old-school vendors selling pupusas and fish tacos, you'll find Thai street food at this tiny stall with canteen-style seating. Join the lunch crowd (daily 11am-5pm) at one of the six stools and watch your plate come together in the open kitchen. Owner David Tewasart (Soi 7 and Spirit House) brings his cooking chops and local, organic ingredients to create a small menu that rotates with the season and comforts the soul. Chef Johnny Lee joins Tewasart and brings his own unique take on Thai cuisine to the table. Dig into khao mun gai ($9), Thailand's answer to Hainan chicken rice served with an addictive fermented soy bean sauce and delicate yet flavorful chicken consommé, and beef panang ($9), coconut, lemongrass and kaffir lime curry that's braised for four hours and served with coconut rice. Don't miss daily-changing specials such as Isan-style Thai sausage stuffed with pork, lemongrass, chiles and kaffir lime. —Katherine Kims (May 13, 2013_