Hot 20 2010: Wassana Korkhieola and Lalita Souksamlane, Owners, Osha Thai
Wassana Korkhieola, 37, and Lalita Souksamlane, 39
Owners, Osha Thai
Ask Thailand natives Lalita Souksamlane or Wassana Korkhieola about the time Radiohead dined at Osha Thai, and they’ll look at you blankly. The sisters’ idea of a celebrity is more like chef Charles Phan of the Slanted Door, whose take on Vietnamese food has provided inspiration for Osha’s own mini-empire.
The first Osha Thai debuted in 1996, and since then, six more have opened across the city. The newest is in SoMa’s former Bong Su space and serves Thai food in a modern restaurant designed by Souksamlane’s husband. Throw in some club music and reasonably priced, if not untraditional, takes on Thai food (beef wasabi rolls, bacon-wrapped scallops), and you have a packed house.
Things have changed in the 14 years since the sisters lived above their first location in the Tenderloin and worked 16-hour days in the kitchen. “Then, people were stuck on pad thai,” says Souksamlane. Their second, sleeker location on Valencia Street came seven years later. As for the future, they’re envisioning an Osha Thai that focuses on organic meats and vegetables.
Today, the sisters live in South SF with their families. “My kids like it here better than Thailand,” says Souksamlane. “The traffic is better. The weather is better. San Francisco’s cold summers are still better than 110 degrees.”
- Hot 20 2010: Justin Giarla, Owner of 941 Geary, The Shooting Gallery and White Walls
- 2010 Hot 20: Michelle Blade, Painter, 2010 SECA Art Award Finalist and Owner of Sight School Gallery
- Hot 20 2010: Aaron Koblin, Technology Lead at Google Creative Lab
- Hot 20 2010: Luke Bartels, Jeff Canham, Josh Duthie, and Danny Hess, Founding Designers of Woodshop
- Hot 20 2010: Aaron Patzer: Founder of Mint.com