Colorado is known for inventing the cheeseburger and honing the craft of green chile, but it's also famous for another type of food: Thai.

That's right — Thai food's introduction to America happened right here in the Centennial State. Read on to find out more.

The first U.S. Thai restaurant opened in Denver

According to CPR News, Lily Chittivej moved to Denver from Thailand and opened the country's first Thai restaurant in the early 1960s.

In a quote from her book, Lily's Cookbook, published by CPR News, Chittivej said she was inspired to move to the U.S. for her children.

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"I want my children to have a good education in a civilized country," she said. "There is no room for all smart students in the children have a chance."

She was working in pharmaceuticals, and her husband as a doctor, when she decided to start a Thai restaurant in the Mile High City. A Denver Post article published by Food Timeline notes Chittivej's friends told her a Thai place wouldn't work in Denver, stating that "Americans don't like spiced food."

Thankfully, she didn't listen and started Chada Thai — America's first Thai restaurant.

How you can try Chada Thai today

Our Community Now notes that Chada Thai is under new ownership at a new location at 2005 E 17th Avenue.

The new Chada Thai at 2005 E 17th Avenue in Denver. Courtesy of Instant Street view.
The new Chada Thai at 2005 E 17th Avenue in Denver. Courtesy of Instant Street view.

However, CPR News shared a recipe for Noodles with Crab Curry from the original Lily's Cookbook. Chittivej wrote that customers loved the dish "because of its curry taste." Find it here.

Chada Thai isn't the only restaurant you need to try in Colorado. Check out 26 fan-favorite restaurants in Fort Collins in the gallery below.

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