100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 40 Bangkok Golden

Roast quail appetizer. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Remember this name: Seng Luangrath.

You’ll be hearing a lot about the refugee turned restaurateur, now that her second, more ambitious restaurant, Thip Khao, has opened. This is the scruffy original, the place that taught us all about the pungent, pinging flavors of Laotian food—which, at least in Luangrath’s skilled hands, has a vividness too often missing in Americanized preparations of Thai cooking.

If you’ve never been here, the dish to open your eyes is the crispy-rice salad; you’ll be shocked that puffed rice and ham could produce such fireworks. But really, you can’t go wrong roaming across her multi-page menu: Koi is a kind of Laotian ceviche, and wonderful. The pork-neck skewers are more luscious than most satays. And a filet of tilapia, tucked in a banana leaf with curry paste, will take you to a warm, distant land on a cold, wintry night.

Don’t miss:

  • Spicy cucumbers
  • Larb moo (ground pork with lime and chilies)
  • Pickled sausage

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.