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Sep 29, 2011 11:15 PM

Souk Savanh Restaurant, lao and thai cuisine [Oakland]

Soul Savanh takes over the spot of the black & white. they claim to serve both lao and thai food. believe they lean to the lao side more.

tried lao sausage (5) fresher than black & white , nice pungent dipping sauce
larb salad (5.95) with chicken was fresh and very tasty also. liberal use of vegetables.
majority of pricing 5.95 and down. portions moderate.
thai dishes listed. believe strength is in laos food.

souk savanh restaurant
1927 international ave.

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  1. Been here half adozen times since they became souk savanh. First time, i was looking for Black & Silver. Prices have gone up a bit since this post, average more like 6.95. I really enjoy their version of pad kee mao, the chef seasons it well, agressively. Definitely more Lao then Thai, as are many of the places in the area... Chai Thai and Champa. I like the kao piak, chicken noodle better here than at the other two places. Kao poon katee is also tasty. Worth a try. F

    1 Reply
    1. re: twocents

      I go here pretty regularly since the last post.

      Pad Kee Mao is my favorite in the area. Medium is plenty spicy for me, occasionally bordering on my limits for pleasant heat. The only thing that might improve it is if it got a little wok char, but that might be difficult with the way the noodles are seasoned, which is much of what I like about the dish.

      Kao poon katee is the other thing I really love about this place. One of the best SE Asian coconut curry broth based noodles that I know of in the East bay. Bamboo shoots add their distinct flavor. I add their hot roast chili paste and fried shallots and garlic to taste.

      Nam kao one of the better versions that I've had in terms of the rice ball itself, as noted below very nice and crispy. Lettuce could have been dried better and other places give more herbs; only mint here I think.

      Nuer kem (beef jerky) pretty good. Fried garlic ribs pretty good. I like their jaew (lime-chili sauce).

      Beerlao dark almost always available. One of the cheapest restaurants I go to regularly.

    2. I stopped by here for lunch earlier this week on a nam kao quest and think I found my favorite version so far. Not only did it have the crunchiest bits of rice, there was also some scraped coconut in the fried mix. The dressing needed a bit of lime, but was otherwise very flavorful.
      I wanted to try something else while I was there but didn't want to end up with a too many leftovers situation, so I ordered the kao fune for $3. Descrbed as "our Laos style jello made out of rice flour in a light tomato broth served with our homemade spicy soybean paste", I actually expected not to like it, as I'm prone to think things like mochi or rice cakes are too bland and not worth eating, even as a vehicle for sauce. But the delicate texture of these (like Jello, as they say), along with the lightness of the broth really appealed to me. The homemade spicy fermented soybean sauce was delicious--very salty on its own, but a great addition to this room temperature soup. I hadn't heard of this before, or gotten any rice-flour preparation quite so silky. A little searching leads me to believe this may be from some slaked lime in the batter. I got some decent info here especially in the comments section. It seems it is also known as Kao Laeng Fuen or Klang Fen or klang fin from the lu-Mien tribes. In fact, googling with the menu spelling leads me to believe that this place is a remodel with very similar menu of the Black and Silver Laos Food and Burger that was formerly in that location (though no more burgers on the menu). There is a Laos Special page, however.

      1. I had the nam kao and mok pa for lunch recently. Didn't try the Lao sausage since it's not made in-house. The nam kao was very good, with the crispiest rice ball pieces of any place I've tried so far. The mok pa was also good, maybe a bit more flavorful than at Vientian Cafe.

        1. Had takeout from them this week and was impressed. Mok pa was great, very light texture, flavor dominated by dill (I think other places go heavier on lemongrass/kefir lime)

          Good nam kao, although the only herb included was mint.

          Papaya salad was intensely salty/funky/spicy - we definitely missed the rice that we'd ordered but that didn't make it into our takeout bag. There were no visible chilis but it was crazy spicy (I don't know how many chilis we ordered, I think my husband just asked for it hot).

          Kow Soy Boran (hofun noodles, homemade soybean paste, ground pork, cilantro, onion, bean sprouts, cabbage, chicken broth) was soothing and satisfying, with a gentle funkiness from the soybean paste.

          1 Reply
          1. re: daveena

            I think there was a management or at least staff change, including cooks, over the past year, but it has been still as good as before, at least for the things I always order. See the other posts.

            This is a place where "medium"is plenty for me 90% of the time.