Strolling around Syracuse, NY, this afternoon I was surprised--to put it mildly--to stumble upon a restaurant purporting to serve Lao and Thai cuisine. Having never tried Lao food before, I knew that this evening's dinner was coming from Lao Village.
The menu, however, seemed to be just a bunch of quite recognizable Thai dishes. I asked the guy behind the counter (from Laos, as it turns out, and I'm pretty sure it was his father in the back doing the cooking) what is really, typically Lao on the menu. The response: "Lao and Thai... pretty much the same." A little internet research suggests this is almost certainly not the case. Still, after ordering the only thing on the menu that even mentions the word "Laotian" in the description, I can tell you their food is quite tasty, if of dubious "authenticity". A soup they call "keang jeut" was broth with ground chicken and a LOT of vegetables (good nonetheless). Approaching stellar status is the noodle dish called "khanoom jean"--rice vermicelli with chunks of chicken, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, mint, kaffir lime leaves, scallion, cilantro, and "Laotian coconut curry paste". I'll take their word on that one... I do know I've never had any curry in a Thai restaurant that tasted anything like it. It was a bit like pad thai, except really delicious.
Definitely worth stopping by if you're in the neighborhood.
208 W. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13202