In an ocean of Vietnamese food in Little Saigon, a true rarity: Laotian food! It’s at Vientiane Thai Laos, and it’s delicious, says groover808. Many of the dishes will be recognizable to lovers of Thai food, but everything is just a little different.
Nam khao—crispy fried rice—is almost like a crispy rice salad. It’s not superhot, and it comes with pork skin and sour, citrus-y pork, says groover808. The salty beef jerky—siin haeng—is thin slices of fried beef jerky, served with a yummy dipping sauce. The traditional way to eat it is with sticky rice, says yummyrice. Basically, for authentic Lao cuisine, “sticky rice is usually eaten with everything that doesn’t already include rice as a main ingredient or anything that’s not a noodle dish, etc… Even Lao papaya salad is meant to be eaten with sweet sticky rice.”
The proper way to eat the salty beef jerky is this way: Dip the sticky rice in the dipping sauce that comes with the beef jerky, then eat the jerky and rice together. “Pairing Lao beef jerky with sticky rice is like pairing pastrami with rye bread. It’s a winning combination, especially with the Lao dipping sauce,” says yummyrice. Also: Eat with your hands. Utensils are used only for noodle dishes, soups, and steamed rice dishes. For most dishes, you pick up the sticky rice with your hands and use that to scoop up your food.
There’s a proper ordering style too, says yummyrice. “A traditional Lao meal is all about balancing the dishes with one another and therefore they should complement one another rather than compete with another dish.” For example, balance a salty dish like larb by mixing it with warm sticky rice. Then, after every few bites of sticky rice and larb, cleanse your palate with some of the accompanying vegetables, or some delicately seasoned Lao soup, like gaeng jeud (pork and tofu) or gaeng keung nai (beef innard). Don’t order a tangy soup, like tom yum, because it’ll compete with the larb.
Vientiane Thai Laos [Little Saigon]
10262 Westminster Avenue, Garden Grove
Board Link: Vientiane Thai Laos