The ‘Classic BBQ Pork Burger’, a burger with no bread. When you see a photo of it on the The Thai Burger Company menu board, a meat patty on top of a rice patty topped with a rice patty, you wonder just how is this is going to work. The answer is; it works amazingly well! The taste sensation has people lining up all night long, at the Thai Burger Company food wagon, every Thursday during the Sunset Market in downtown Oceanside.
“We were really lucky.” explains Paripon “Pari” Thitathan Jr., who owns th
e company with his wife, Pang, speaking about the genesis of the company, “The idea of the Thai Burger was a long shot in the first place. People kind of made fun of us.”
The Thai Burger Company had humble beginnings in 2012. Pari explains, “It all began with desperation to pay for education. We started this business so we could go to school. We just wanted to be able to pay for our tuition and books.
The food business isn’t something the friends of Pari, a Genentech Scholarship winner and engineering physics major along with Pang, a biologist and chemist, would expect the couple to be jumping into with both feet. “We are a bunch of mathheads. We love science, technology, mathematics, more of the intense studies. My friends at school don’t believe I’m in the vending business and my fellow vendors don’t believe I’m a nerd.”
Pari was born in the US but spent half of his life in Thailand. The idea for the burger came from one of his favorite dishes in Thailand, carne mu ping, seasoned barbecued pork served on a stick with sticky rice on the side. “I was really impressed with the dish. It was the most amazing food I ever had. It’s an appetizer/snack/meal. Very versatile.”
Pari wanted to find a way to translate the dish to Americans. “I wanted something simple, concise and I came up with the burger. I did it. I didn’t listen to anybody. I just closed my eyes and moved forward.”
The Thai Burger Company has built a passionate customer base and it continues to grow. The ‘Classic BBQ Pork Burger’ is currently their best seller replacing the ‘Chicken Satay Burger’ on top of the list. “It’s probably neck and neck in the popularity of the two.”
The marinades are a well kept secret but the Chicken Satay Burger, like the Classic BBQ Pork Burger, is rice, meat, rice. “The Chicken Satay is special,” explains Pari, “the chicken is covered in a special Thai peanut sauce. It may not be the best in the world but it rocks.”
Continuing with the unique, they offer the Panang Curry Pork Burger and a Fried Tofu Burger. Appetizers include Chicken Pot Stickers, Fried Tofu, Calamari Ball, Imitation Crab Ball and a Shrimp Ball.
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