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