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Great Lao food in Seattle

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My girlfriend and I have been to an excellent Lao restaurant in Seattle. My girlfriend is Lao and she found the food great and real Lao. We had green papaya salad as appetizer. You can have it Lao or Thai style, that means with "pa daek", that is a very pungent fermented fish sauce (Lao) or with normal fish sauce (Thai sauce), that is less pungent and how normally foreigners (including myself) are able to eat it enjoying it. Then we had green curry and tom kha, that is a soup with galanga, both with tofu, and larb salad with chicken. Tofu was the fried one, that is more tasty than plain one. Larb is a very popular Lao salad made with minced meat or fish, lemongrass, mint, toasted broken rice and chili, that you eat with sticky rice. Sticky rice was excellent too, and served in rice baskets like in Laos.

The atmosphere is nice and Lao-like, and service is good. The prices are very convenient, we were three, we were not able to finish all the food, and the bill was about 40 bucks. The only downside is that these guys close at 8 PM, I believe because they work mainly with take-away.

The restaurant's name is Viengthong Lao-Thai restaurant and it is in Martin Luther King Way, somewhere near McClallan road or something like that. If you go there, let me know if you enjoyed it.

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  1. I tried this place last night, and I agree with the reccomendation. We had fried sticky rice with ham, which was deliciously tangy, served with lettuce wraps, cilantro, mint, and other greens, and also pad lao, the noodles cooked just right. Next time I want the dried beef, larb, and squid or papaya salad. I wish there were more Northern Thai and Lao cooking available in Seattle.

    1. I concur, this place is really delicious. I went with a Lao friend, who showed me how you eat with the sticky rice. You roll it into a ball with your hands about 1/2 inch to an inch in diameter. Then you flatted it into a concave disk with your thumb. Then you can use it like a tortilla chip and scoop with it.

      The BBQ chicken is excellent. If you get the Lao green papaya salad hot, it is really hot (i mean with chili peppers). Their Larb Gai is incredible too.

      1. Thanks for the bump and the reminder. We ate here about a year ago and haven't gotten around to coming back. With this reminder, we will have to go soon!

        1. Try Thai Palms!! Despite it's name, they have traditional Lao dishes! My family is from Laos so I can attest that it's really good!

          Thai Palms
          6715 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Seattle, WA

          1. Also took your suggestion - delicious and authentic! How about market recommendations? I went to a party where they had even ordered all the beef larb ingredients for delivery! Any recs?

            1 Reply
            1. re: kateseattle

              Try Mekong Rainier, a great little gem on Rainier south of the Mount Baker transit center. You will notice signage in Lao, Khmer and Han characters on the facade. There are alot of other small markets along Rainier and MLK, and I have not been to many of them, but it appears they often have a stronger Viet/Chinese or Cambodian bent as opposed to Lao.

            2. i am looking forward to trying Viengthong soon. I have been to and enjoyed Thai Palms several times and I am very enthusiastic about Savatdee on Roosevelt where everything is very carefully prepared with three kinds of lab a fantastic catfish soup and the crispy fried rice with ham dish in lettuce wraps. I am only hoping that they survive in that location and would encourage anyone who wants great Lao food in the U District to help keep them in business.

              Thai Palms
              6715 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Seattle, WA

              2820 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98144

              1. This has been one of my favorite restaurants since high school. In fact, my friends and I used to skip school and catch a bus across the lake to eat here. Their tum maak houng is the papaya salad I measure all others by. But the real standout here is their dried beef. It's basically marinated beef dried in an oven and then fried. What's not to like?