In my still relatively new work neighbourhood, there are no shortage of good places to eat. So far I’ve visited about half a dozen or so, and there are still more to come. My most recent visit was to Vientiane Thai. Vientiane is in the same strip mall as Lovey’s B-B-Q. There is also a restaurant called Boun‘s, which I still have to visit.
On my first visit to Vientiane, I was taken there by Geoff Woodcroft, one of my priestly colleagues. We decided that we would stick with a heat level of three which our server told us was their medium. While I like my heat, I also appreciate the chance of finding out how good the food is without much spice.
We ordered the Pat Kheeng Puck, which is a vegetarian ginger dish(although you can add in meat if you would like). This dish had a strong but not overpowering ginger flavour to it, but the heat at three wasn’t all that noticeable. The other dish we had, sorry no picture, was the Pat Nut, with chicken. This dish comes with cashews and was actually a fair bit hotter than the Pat Kheeny Puck. These two dishes along with a bowl of rice made for a good lunch for two, with even a little bit left over. Thanks for the lunch Geoff.
When I went for lunch a second time, I decided I would order appetizer, soup and a main dish. For the appetizer I went for the rice rolls. There were two of them and they were stuffed full. There was shrimp and chicken along with the rice noodles, bean sprouts and a little cilantro. None of the flavours overwhelmed the others, and the dipping sauce was not overly vinegary. The Zuki Yaki soup was definitely the highlight of the items I tried. Firstly, it was stuffed full of solid ingredients. There was lots of meat, vegetables, and noodles. Secondly, this time when I ordered I went with a heat level of seven. As a result I ended up with a soup that was both hot and sweet at the same time. Both elements were in perfect balance with each other. Not only that, but there was no real saltiness to interefere with that sensation.
Finally, I had the Laap. Laap is decribed on the menu as a meat salad. It’s not, however, a green salad. The salad consists of meat(I went with beef) along with red onion, bean sprouts, green onions, carrots and ground up roasted rice. The roasted rice gives it a nice crunch. The beef was very tender, and again, like the dipping sauce for the rice rolls, the dressing had a nice vinegary taste, but was not overdone. The server told me afterwards that people tend to either love it or hate it. Put me firmly in the love it camp.
Along with being friendly, the service at Vientiane is quite efficient as well. Both times, there were not long waits to either have the order taken, or for it to be served. Neither time was the restaurant full, but it was still fairly busy. One practice I really liked is that when they brought water to the table, they left the pitcher after filling the glasses. Vientiane also showed they deliver great flavour with or without heat, as you prefer.
If you find yourself up on Marion, Vientiane is definitely worth checking out. In fact, it’s worth your while heading to Marion just so you can check it out.