But that didn't stop Katy Noochlaor, and the risk paid off. After 15 years, her restaurant, Tuk Tuk Thai, is still going strong.
Perhaps this is because Noochlaor (at right) has the restaurant business in her genes. As she grew up, the place to hang out was her mother's restaurant, Chao Krung on Fairfax Ave.
Noochlaor tries to make her Thai food a little different from that at Chao Krung. Still, this is a family business. The chef at Tuk Tuk is her aunt, Taraporn Ratanamanee.
Old favorites such as pad Thai, green and red curries and papaya salad are on the menu. But instead of pad Thai, why not try stir-fried rice noodles with crab, egg, chiles and bean sprouts (at the top)?
Instead of papaya salad, choose a grilled shrimp salad with grape tomatoes and greens and enjoy the subtle char taste of the grill (above), which makes this already complex salad even more interesting.
In the future, the ice cream is going to become much fancier. The presentation that Noochlaor and her team are working on is a soft sweet Hawaiian bun topped with sticky rice, then with ice cream, toasted nuts and, finally, condensed milk. Wow! I'll be back for that.
Tuk Tuk Thai, 8875 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035. Tel: (310) 860-1872. (Look for the replica of a tuk tuk (a Thai auto rickshaw) over the door.