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Take a tour of New York City's Little Thailand, where Thai culture is thriving

Take a tour of New York City's Little Thailand
Take a tour of New York City's Little Thailand 01:54

NEW YORK -- A Thai community is thriving along Woodside Avenue in Elmhurst, Queens.

Queens' Thai community is "like a family"

P'Noi has run Thai Thai grocery in Elmhurst for 14 years. She welcomes Thai and international customers alike, guiding them through aisles of imported ingredients.

"I say, 'What you want to cook, just let me know,'" she said.

Her shop sits in the heart of Little Thailand. P'Noi fills a bulletin board with photos from Thai cultural events in the neighborhood.

"We are like a family," she said.

Among Woodside Avenue's Thai businesses are numerous eateries, including Zaab Zaab, which specializes in Isan cuisine from Northeast Thailand.

"We present the real way, the authentic way," co-owner Pei Wei said.

Dishes include Pla Takai, whole striped bass fried with lemongrass and garlic. Sticky rice and bundles of fresh Thai herbs help temper the fiery broths and curries.

"It's home cooking," co-owner Bryan Chunton said.

"Little Thailand is for people from around the world"  

Brianna Cea was 1 year old when her family moved to the neighborhood. Today, she works with OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and Thai Community USA. 

"It's been so cool to see just how big the community has grown," she said.

Her grandmother opened one of the first Thai hair salons in the neighborhood.

"When I go to temple, I get to meet aunties that knew her," she said.

Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram is the Thai Buddhist temple on 46th Avenue.

"When you come here, you feel friendly," Monk P. Thawin Pukhao said. "Buddhism means we open the door to accept all of you, all the nations and all the beings."

A short walk from the temple is a stretch of Woodside Avenue co-named Little Thailand Way. Juttana Moo Nabon Rimreartwate, founder of Thai Community USA, helped secure the official designation in 2022. 

"Little Thailand is not just about New York City anymore. Little Thailand is for people from around the world," he said.

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