Little Thailand mural

Last year, the Elmhurst community banded together to celebrate a milestone: the designation of “Little Thailand” as an official ethnic enclave. The neighborhood boasts signs of “Little Thailand Way” alongside Woodside Avenue, commemorating the dozen or so Thai eateries and thousands of Thai residents in the area. Just a decade ago, there were only a handful of Thai restaurants in the neighborhood, though a few recently opened specializing in cuisines throughout the country, with a particular emphasis on Isan cooking from the northeast. Some Thai immigrants came during the era of the Vietnam War, though many settled in the United States in the early 2000s amid the 2006 Thai coup d’etat. To learn more about this up-and-coming community in Elmhurst, read about these 14 Thai restaurants and shops in the heart of Queens.

1. SaRanRom Thai

Sa Ran Rom

SaRanRom Thai, a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant along Broadway, serves all sorts of dishes from across Thailand. The restaurant has a cozy interior with just about eight or so tables with an exposed brick wall on one side and a wooden wall on the other. The rather minimal interior is filled with plants and light fixtures.

The menu features a mix of Thai classics and hard-to-find regional specialties. Miang Ka-Na is a dried pork mix with lime, chili, and ground peanut served with broccoli leaves, while Sai Krok E-San is a grilled fermented rice and pork sausage from the northeast. Salads include Yum Pla Duk Fu with crispy fried catfish and spicy mango salad, as well as Bangkok beef salad with a sweet spicy dressing. The restaurant’s Southern spicy minced pork uses a spicy yellow paste with peppercorns and bell pepper, while its Nam Ngiao draws from Northern Thai traditions for a mix of vermicelli noodles, tomato sauce, pork ribs, blood, and dried flowers. Other popular dishes include basic duck, clam with basil sauce, century egg with ground pork, and Southern spicy shrimp with sator (stink) beans.