10 of the most delicious Thai Restaurants in America!

In the last 20 or years, Thai food has become one of the most popular cuisines in America. We're only catching on about 1,370 years late: traditional Thai food (as we know it) began about 1,400 years ago. During the 17th century, the influence of Dutch, French and Portuguese missionaries tweaked it further. One example: the ever-present chili, which was introduced by the Portuguese, who had discovered it in South America.

Thai cuisine is rooted in balancing the five fundamental taste senses (bitter, spicy, sour, sweet, salty). Maybe that's what's made it so well loved, worldwide. In one CNN poll, seven Thai dishes made it onto their list of the "World's 50 Most Delicious Foods."

Get your fix with these hot and spicy choices from around America.

1. Thai North, Boston, MA

It's tiny, but has an enormous menu. You can get all the usual, like drunken noodles and pad thai - but they also offer less familiar dishes from northern Thailand. Their spicy noodle curries and Tiger's tear salad are big faves.

2. Pure Thai Cookhouse , New York, NY

If you want great Thai, and don't have to be anywhere in a hurry, check out this unassuming little place in Hell's Kitchen. It's always packed and doesn't take reservations. Thai fans proclaim this place one of the most "authentic," maybe because the owners modeled it after the street stands of that country.

3. Little Serow, Washington, DC

For a place with "little" in the name, they sure have "big" attitude: no phone, no reservations and only parties of four or less get to sit together (larger groups get split up). But the food is so worth it. Their menu consists of about six items, which get switched up weekly. And are super-spicy.

4. Sticky Rice, Chicago, IL

Despite tons of Thai restaurants in the immediate neighborhood, this one has a passionate following. The menu features the usual suspects, done expertly - but they like to change it up every few weeks with some truly creative dishes.

5. Thai Chili Restaurant, Avon Lake, OH (Cleveland area)

Kind of ironic that their chef graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute - but he's taken those skills and applied them to his passion for Thai cuisine. He regularly travels to Thailand to stay sharp, and its paid off: the restaurant regularly wins "best of" lists in the area.

6. Smiling Elephant, Nashville, TN

Locals love, love, love the Pad Thai and dumplings: they're regularly voted "best in Music City." And for dessert? Their hot coconut custard is crazy-good. Is also big on using only fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

7. Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, NV

Don't let the fact that it's in a strip mall fool you: it's been nominated for a swanky James Beard Award. The Drunken Noodle with Soft Shell Crab or Garlic Prawns have 'em lining up around the block. Some food critics have proclaimed it as the best Thai restaurant anywhere in the U.S.

8. Jitlada. Los Angeles, CA

Besides the standard Thai fare, this crazy-popular restaurant serves specialties from that country that you won't find anywhere else in America. If you're feeling adventurous, the beef curry is recognized as one of the spiciest dishes in all of Los Angeles. If not, the Crispy Morning Glory Salad is a must.

9. Thai Orchid Garden, Pomona, CA

They were doing great Thai food decades before it became a "thing." Curry chicken, pad thai, yellow and green curry, and garlic-anything are top choices. No wonder it's been a local favorite since 1978.

10. Thai Tom, Seattle, WA

You may feel as if you've stumbled into an authentic "hole in the wall" in Bangkok. It's distinctly no-frills, but the open kitchen offers serious entertainment. And foodies repeatedly return for the garlic pepper dishes and the spicy noodles.

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