Me Lovin’ Lao Long Time

One of the things I love about Chicago is the ample cuisines accessible for me to try out. Each month I take my group to a different neighborhood of the city for a culinary and cultural adventure as part of my ethnic food tours. This month we had our fill of Southeast Asia where we enjoyed a fabulous Laotian lunch and shopped at the Thai asian market next door.

Lao cuisine is rather new in Chicago because there is only one Lao restaurant in the city. This restaurant is Sabai Dee. Some may be quick to compare Laotian cuisine to Thai or even Vietnamese… however it is a cuisine completely different and very unique. The following is taken from Wikipedia, since they do a better job describing the cuisine:

“Lao cuisine is the cuisine of the Lao ethnic group of Laos and Northeast Thailand. Lao food is distinct from other Southeast Asian cuisines. The staple food of the Lao is sticky rice. Galangal and fish sauce are important ingredients. The Lao national dish is laap (sometimes also spelled larb), a spicy mixture of marinated meat and/or fish that is sometimes raw (prepared like cevich) with a variable combination of greens, herbs, and spices. Another characteristic dish is tam mak houng, a spicy green papaya salad. Lao cuisine has many regional variations, according in part to the fresh foods local to each region. A French influence is also apparent in the capital city, Vientiane, such that baguettes are sold on the street, and French restaurants (often with a naturally Lao, Asian-fusion touch) are common and popular. Vietnamese cuisine is also popular in Laos.”

I’m now a big fan of Lao cuisine… especially their larb. I don’t normally eat much beef, but I have to say that one of my fave dishes I tried is the beef larb. I’m still craving it! Here are pictures of the restaurant where I hosted the event and the wonderful lunch we had:

Sabai Dee
5359 N Broadway Unit AChicago, IL 60640

Papaya Salad

Beef Larb

Green Curry Chicken

Tamarind Soup

Tofu Stir Fry over Pan Fried Noodles

Pork Stir Fry over Pan Fried Noodles
Egg Custard (and Fresh Mango) over Sweet Sticky Rice

Our hungry friends mingling before lunch:

Shots of the restaurant’s steam table offerings: