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« Gunco Ramen/Kanpai | Main | I Finally Got Around To.... »

Monday, 06 March 2006



Goddamn it, I was going to keep this place hidden away, so I could share it for a rainy day. Excellent out-of-country vibe.


hey kirk, do you prefer Laotian papaya salad or Thai style? I love the laotian style - it is darker, has more fish sauce, spicy and NOT SWEET AT ALL. plus i love the salted, bluecrab flavor - so good. i'm wondering if this is the place my dad goes to in SD. thanks for posting this, i'm gonna go make papaya salad soon.

oh yeah, my catering boss gave me a huge pack of OGO seaweed. woohoo, poke time.


mmm I love trying new cuisines. I don't know much about lao cuisine so it was a new thing to learn about the darker sauced papaya salad! I also need to try some sticky rice. It looks like they would go well together.


Hi Calvin - Thanks for finally commenting. I'm sorry to have posted on one of Your "secret" places, but it was raining a few days ago, right? LOL!

Hi EDBM - I almost consider Laotian Papaya Salad and Thai Papaya Salad to be totally different dishes. I enjoy Thai Papaya Salad, as ummm well, to be a salad. I enjoy Laotian Papaya Salad to almost be an entree' and eaten with rice. Not to be evasive, but when done well, I enjoy them both.

Hi Rachel - Though Thai and Laotian dishes sound and look to be similar, there are differences. And it's always fun to try new "stuff".


Wow Kirk,

Everything sounds so good. I haven't tried Laotian food before, but I will have to hunt it down.


I've been in San Diego for a little less than a year and have been SOOO dissapointed in the food. I'm from Chicago, my family is from Hawaii... both places (to my knowledge) make san diego look like some sort of food-challenged city. Anyway, I'm so glad I found your blog. Hopefully I'll get some new insight!!! (i've been going to LA to get my yummies..)


I'm new to Laotian food too. This looks pretty promising. The papaya salad and fried rice both look great.

Stacey, I think San Diego is still not really considered a very foodie friendly city. You can still find a decent meal, but you have to seek it out more.


Wow this place is down the block from where I live and I didn't even knew it existed! Thanks for the heads up!


Fried quail beats fried chicken in my books anyday! There's a steadily growing Laotian community in Hawaii and we're beginning to see signs of Laotian cusine pop up here and there. Hooray for diversification. :)


Hi Mills - You'll find the flavors familiar, yet different!

Hi Stacey - We still go to LA for many items. But that doesn't mean San Diego is truly does take some effort though! It depends on what you are searching for.....

Hi Howie - The "Nem", or fried rice with Lao sausage is very good.

Hi Brian - Give it a try and let me know whot you think.

Hi Kathy - Ummm, not in this case. Bland and dry quail does not trump good fried chicken. That said, I really do enjoy Laotian Food.


That fried rice looks awesome! I'm going to have to check this place out as I have never had Laotian food before.


Hi Jack - Dropped by this evening and have some interesting news - I'll post tomorrow.


Wow, I'm glad I found this blog. When I visit my friend this Summer, maybe I'll have her try som Laotian food more.

Most of the time Laotian papya salad doesn't actually have the blue crab, but I guess it's less expensive in San Diego. Yum!

Laotian papya salad ranks on number one in my book and is better than the Thai one because the Laotian one has a secret ingredient that Thais never used and it's called "Pha Dek." Pha means fish (in Thai it's Pla) and it is fermented anchovy fish extract with the actual fish meat.

One of my other favorite salads are "Yum Sa Lud" which is essencially a delicious Spring Salad.

Also in Laotian cuisine as compared to all of Asia, Khao Neal (sticky rice) is the staple rice, not Jasimine. No other Asian countries will eat it unless it's dessert. In Thai restaurants, DO NOT order this rice as it will not be a pleasant experience. The rice is often wraped in seran plastic wrap and is therefore to sticky to eat and it destroys the taste. If you request it, ask how it is made (it should be steamed over a woven basket over a pot, and not boiled) and ask how they will serve it. The rice should normally be kept in a bamboo rice keeper to prevent the rice from turning it into regular Jasmine steam rice.



Hi San - Thanks for stopping by and commenting, also for the good info. The two Laotian Restaurants we go to most often, Vientiane and Asia Cafe steam the sticky rice in a woven basket - though Asia Cafe does a better job of it. Funny thing, back home in Hawaii quite a few Thai restaurants have sticky rice on the menu, and not as a dessert, most do a pretty good job. Laotian Papaya salad is very different from Thai papaya salad, and they are both good. Though I think of Thai style papaya salad as, well, a salad, while the more pungent(and hotter) Laotian style feels more like an entree to me.


What I mean by using Sticky rice as desert, I mean that a lot of asian countries, such as Japan use the Glutonous Rice flower as the part of the desert like the delicious famous Mochi ice cream. A lot of Thai restaurants in California, like in the Bay Area do offer Sticky rice, and it has been mostly terrible but they also offer it as dessert such as the desert known as Sticky rice with Mango.

When I order Sticky rice to go in a Thai restaurant they would wrap it up in seran wrap. The place that you go to seems to take more care into the fact of keeping the rice in good condition by putting in a box instead. Well done!

I guess some Thai restaurants also offer sticky rice because a lot of their customers are Laotian and Westerners and because Laotians far out number Thais in America, it just makes sense to have it.


This is a great blog with nice pics. We are glad that you like Laotian foods.

We also cook, and you can see us at, though what we do is a little different.

Keep up the good work, and next time you try the Tum Mak Houng, ask for the cook to prepare it with some Ka Pi (Shrimp Paste) also... yummy

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