Small Island of Thailand in El Cerrito

Roong Jing Jing offers Thai products and a hub for the Thai and Lao community in the Peppermint Tree Plaza on San Pablo Avenue.


Owner: Jerasak Sarakul, 56

How long has your store been here? We’ve been here a couple of years, but before we moved in here, we had a store in Ranch 99.

How do you like El Cerrito? Oh, I love El Cerrito. I’ve been a resident of El Cerrito for more than twenty years. I don’t want to move to any other city. I've gotten used to it.

Where did you live before El Cerrito? Daly City.

You specialize in Thai products? Yes. And music, drama, movies from Thailand and Thai grocery.

Have you ever lived in Thailand? Yes, yes.

When you were little? Oh yes.

Do you ever go visit? Sometimes. Once a year. Before, I went there very often, like three or four times a year, because at that time the economy was good. The stuff sold very well, we used to sell some decoration items, too. But now, it’s hard, nobody wants to buy all those items. People just sell their businesses, nobody opens a new one.

Are you just breaking even right now? Yea, we make a little, but before, we made a lot.

Do you have a lot of Thai come in? Mostly. Thai and Lao.

Do you feel like you have a community here? Yes, Thai community—every Sunday most of the Thai people, they go to the Thai temple in Berkeley, maybe you know that?

I don’t, but do they feed you? On Sundays, every Sunday, they have a lot of Thai food. A lot of American people go there because on that day, it is cheap, and (there are) many selections.

What is your favorite Thai food? I like spicy.

Me too. (laughs) Really! Great!

What do you do for fun? (sighs) I don’t really have much time for fun. After working...

If you could, what would you do? Would you go hang out in ThailandYes.

Do you have family over there? I don’t have many relatives, I only have my mom in Thailand, and my sister, that’s it, some of my classmates. 

To see other installments of our "Who's Who in Local Business" series, click .


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