A popular topic at Bay Area Bites, East Oakland’s Lao cuisine has been featured in previous coverage. This roundup focuses on other fine Lao restaurants located throughout Oakland, San Pablo, El Sobrante and Albany.
Tag: thai food
Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
After 30 years of running the Thai restaurant Old Weang Ping, a locals’ favorite in East Oakland, owners Pat and Jook Sawanwatana are finally retiring. Does this mean the end of Old Weang Ping Village as we know it? Certainly not.
I first became really curious about Lao food nearly two years ago, after a tasty meal at Champa Garden, the somewhat venerable Lao restaurant on 8th Avenue east of Lake Merritt in San Antonio–one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the Bay Area, home to close-knit populations of African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians in almost equal proportions. I tried to draw distinctions between its dominant flavors and those most prevalent in the more familiar cuisines of its Southeast Asian neighbors. Like Thai, Lao thrives on interplay between sour and spicy, crunchy and soft, and both cooked and raw ingredients. The effect however is different.
After acquiring 3 prize copper pots and the cookbook “The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking” by Mai Pham from a Craigslist ad I adapted a couple of recipes from the book and prepared: Butternut Squash Thai Curry with Coconut Rice and Sticky Coconut Rice and Fresh Mangoes.
This is the third year in a row that I have published a list of my favorite tastes of the year. My personal rules for the tastes: they have to be something that I first tried in 2008, and they must knock my socks off. I am lucky that every year I am able to taste new dishes that completely change my culinary point-of-view. This year I delved more into Thai food, and spent a lot of time in San Francisco so not many dishes are from out-of-town.
Lotus of Siam, a Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, has been lauded as the best Thai restaurant in the country by some of the most well-known critics around. It is known for it’s excruciating attention to detail with sauces and depth of flavor, its expansive German wine list, and its low-key, unpretentious approach.