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ISO nam khao [tod] and sai oua, Lao dishes in Seattle

Appreciate any thoughts you have -- we are Lao-food-free in Vancouver, and I don't think I can wait till November and our next trip to Oakland for a fix : -).

I've done a bit of digging and found a few threads, gleaning from them that there are three contenders for nam khao: Thai Palms, Viengthong and Savatdee (which has nem mou, a similar sounding dish). So far no luck on the sai oua though Thai Palms does have deep fried Thai sausage on the Thai menu -- I know I have to ask for the To Go Menu in the plastic sleeve to get my mitts on the Lao goodies, thanks to this article: http://www.seattleweekly.com/2009-01-...

Have I missed anything? Which place do you prefer? TIA

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  1. From out of Left Field comes Saffron Deli, on Gilman, in Issaquah - lao sausage a specialty, they say. The place is odd, but friendly and top-drawer tasty.

    1. I've found Thai Palms has sort of abandoned the Lao menu of late--that article is pretty old. I'm like 90% certain I've had nam kao at Viengthong, though. If you get down there, the Vientiane Market down that way also often has some prepared Lao foods for sale, especially on weekends. They may also either have or be able to tell you where you could find sai oua.

      1. I'm no expert on Lao food, but the nem mou at Savatdee is delicious. Highly recommend.

        1. We have enjoyed the nem mou at Savatdee.and the sausage at Thai Palms, if they still serve it. I have been to Saffron Deli once and noted that there was sausage on the menu of this tiny friendly family style place which happens to be right next door to Noodle Boat, a very good Thai restaurant. Also, the Isan Thai place, Pestle Rock in Ballard has what they call Thai sausage which may be very similar as there are apparently overlaps between Lao food and Isan. I am addicted to their larb.

          11 Replies
          1. re: forkit

            Thanks, all, and especially for pointing me to Saffron which I had missed (link to forkit's post on Saffron here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903320) I will deffo call anywhere we go ahead of time to confirm the presence of Lao items. Not that I'm averse to good Thai, of course, but it is the Lao stuff I'm especially after : -).

            1. re: forkit

              Agree that the nem mou/nam kao at Savatdee is v. good, and I think there is a version I've had at Viengthong, though not quite as good. I like the lao sausage sold raw at Vientiane Asian Grocery that dagoose mentions, and since they have a little cafe in there, I'd be surprised if they would not cook it up for you. See also http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855686

              1. re: equinoise

                Good to know that there is the possibility of hot edibles at Vientiane! I can see we're going to have to branch out and come to Seattle for a proper eating weekend instead of doing a drive by on our way south (this will allow us to head out to Issaquah, for example). Missing out on a lot!

                1. re: grayelf

                  Me again. We're heading down to Portland and targeting a Seattle lunch stop. It's between the nem mou at Savatdee and the nem kao at Viengthong, just because of proximity to the highway. I have figured out how to get to the latter, but less sure about which exit off the I5 to get to Viengthong. Also wanted to check in to make sure those two are both still recommended. Will also have to call about whether either serves lunch. No website for VT and Savatdee's says dinner only, though Yelp lists lunch hours. TIA.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Both are open for lunch. Savatdee is 11:30-2:30 M-F. VT is 11-8 Tues-Sat, Sun 1-8, Closed Monday.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Either will be good. There is more atmosphere, a nice space, drinks, etc. at Savatdee. There is not at VT. VT is cash only.

                      1. re: dagoose

                        Excellent, thanks -- I will let my DCs decide, then. Or possibly we'll choose the one that is easiest to get to. Does anyone know how to tell if there is an exit off I5 near Savatdee?

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Exit 171 is the closest one if you are head South on I5

                          1. re: knowspicker

                            Thanks much! Needless to say, I will post on whichever one we end up at...

                            1. re: grayelf

                              In my head, it seems much easier to get to Savatdee--get off at 65th, over to roosevelt and down, then keep going down roosevelt, get back on at 50th.

                              However, you'll want to see where you are/what time--you might want to get as far south as VT to get through city traffic before it gets bad.

                              1. re: dagoose

                                I don't seem to have reported back, my bad. We were able to try both Savatdee (lunch) and Viengthong (dinner) on our last trip in October. I thought the nem mou was really outstanding at Savatdee whereas the other dishes were not quite so great. VT deffo has much less going for it in the way of ambiance -- we almost left when we arrived to an empty room with a funky pong but the meal was tasty and the room filled up somewhat. I thought the nem khao was not up to Savatdee's standard...

                                Heading down again in lateish March so if anyone's found more Lao in the interim, I'd be grateful to hear about it!