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Laotian Lunch at South Area Market in Sacramento

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Laotian Lunch at South Area Market in Sacramento

Melanie Wong | Jul 7, 2011 09:23 PM

Last weekend I was back in Sacramento and stopped for lunch at South Area Market. The back of the market has a food counter and about eight tables for eating in. It’s air-conditioned inside, making it easy to linger for a bit in the heat. The cashier at the food counter only takes cash but one can use a credit card by paying at the main register at the front of the store. This is the menu of Laotian specialties.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

I tried two items. First, Pad Lao, $3 – These are pre-packed and kept at room temperature on top of the counter. Thin rice noodles infused with sweet soy sauce and laced with bean sprouts, cilantro, slivers of green onion, cubes of pork blood, and what seemed like either very tough chicken meat or gizzards. This was just a tad sweet for me and in need of some acidity, but still, very enjoyable and a bargain.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

Then, Mok ba (aka hamok or mokpa), $5 - I asked what happened to the banana leaf and was told it's used to line the bottom. This was more like an inside-out chile relleno with a large, very hot green chile pepper layered with filets of catfish, onion, dill, lemongrass and red sweet pepper. These aluminum loaf pans are wrapped in Saran and ready to-go on the hot buffet table. Not sure I liked the unset, gooey texture and this is the first example of this dish at a Lao, Thai or Cambodian restaurant that I probably would not order again.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

I also had a Thai iced tea that was brewed strong the way I like it. Most of the other customers were enjoying noodle soups or selections from the steam table. I have a good feeling about this place for home style cooking and hope to hear other reports of what’s good here.

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South Area Market
5220 Fruitridge Rd, Sacramento, CA 95824

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