Cheap Eats 2017: Thip Khao

Check out Thip Khao's Laotian happy hour for tasty cheap food and drinks. Photograph by Scott Suchman

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It’s well worth following chef Seng Luangrath on social media. Not only are the images of her Laotian cooking gorgeous, but it’s the best way to keep up with the many funky, fiery, and boundary-pushing specials (e.g., fried duck heads) at her brightly lit Columbia Heights restaurant. The core menu still excites—fragrant larb salads, smoky pork-neck skewers—but stay on the lookout for limited-run specials such as grilled whole fish with heaps of homegrown herbs, mee khati (coconut noodle soup), or flowering-lotus cookies crowned with toasted-rice gelato. One taste and you’ll want to join the #LaoFoodMovement, too. Also good: Tamarind soup; crispy catfish in cilantro-accented mango sauce.