Laos in Town (Washington D.C.)

As per the last census, the Twin Cities metro has twice as many Lao residents as Washington D.C. However, Washington D.C would seem to have more formal Lao restaurants than the Twin Cities, where I count exactly zero restaurants that would fit that bill. It’s not the case that the Twin Cities does not have Lao restaurateurs or that there is no Lao food to be found in Twin Cities restaurants. As a matter of fact, a number (which I suspect if verified would be large not small) of Thai restaurants in the area are run by Lao owners and chefs, and Lao dishes can be found on the menus of many Thai restaurants in the area. However, the only well-known restaurant I can think of that even has “Lao” in its name is St. Paul’s Lao Thai on University Ave. (where else?), and it too is usually reckoned only as a Thai restaurant. Similarly, while Lao-style papaya salads and khao poon are standbys on Twin Cities Thai restaurant menus, those menus themselves are presented as Thai menus. In D.C, however, things are different. Continue reading