Visiting Winnipeg right now, and found this great place called A Taste Of Laos (840 Erin Winnipeg (204) 7797291) near my parents.
Absolutely nothing to look at, this odd little building houses a real Chowfind. A Taste of Laos is laotion food without compromise and is catering to demands for authenticity by serving up some of the tastiest SE Asian food in the city.
With the assistance of our helpful server we order a range of dishes and start with cold salad rolls containing shrimp and BBQ pork. The only discernible difference between this and the vietnamese variety is the use of thicker rice noodles in the stuffing, but very tasty nonetheless.
The stuffed chicken wings then arrive and are truly a revelation: deboned (except for the tip), the wings are stuffed with aromotic spiced chicken, fragrant with I think mint and coriander, deep fried and served with a sweet/spicy dipping sauce. Buffalo move over! These may be the best wings I've ever tasted!
The mains arrive: we had taken our servers advice and ordered a chicken stirfy and a noodle dish described as a Laotian Pad Thai.
The stirfry is a bit heavy on vegetables, but all fresh and crispy and perfectly cooked. I just dislike celery and there is a touch too much of it, but this may be a personal preference. However the flavour is amazing, thoroughly infused with herbs and extremely aromatic, this is something unique. My group is heat shy so we had ordered everything with a minimum of chiles, but given the choice I think this would improve as a medium to hot spiced dish. Note that you can specify your heat and our server had recommended that the dish be served spicier.
The noodle dish (sorry, can't remember the name but the server will direct you to it), bears a minimum resemblance to Pad Thai: while the ingredients are similar(noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, shrimp, etc.), the sauce is very different. There is nice balance of soy, sesame, and something sweet. We inhale it, but again a few extra chiles would succeed in balancing the dish. Note again that our server had recommended more heat and we declined, but take their advice.
We had also ordered a salad plate with herbs, lettuce leaves, cold noodles and spring rolls. Again similar to vietnamese salad plates, we rolled the spring rolls up in the lettuce with the other condiments and dipped the result into a typical dipping sauce (e.g. nuoc mam). Won't go into details as it is a pretty common dish, but very nicely executed with very fresh herbs: coriander and mint.
Finally, we had ordered rice with the meal, and for fun also ordered a bowl of steamed laotian sticky rice. When it arrived, about halfway through the meal in an attractive woven bamboo container, the server recommended eating it with our hands, by rolling it up into balls and popping them in our mouths. We were all surprised at how much fun and how tasty this was! Not to be missed!
This is a great little restaurant and is doing something unique, and very chow friendly. Be sure to go and have the wings at the very least. On our next visit we hope to try other laotian dishes wuch as Moke and Laab. The service is friendly and it is very reasonably priced at the moment. We were three adults and two kids, we stuck with drinking water, and the bill came to $43 after tax but before tip.