Thai and Laos

It’s no secret that I love Lao and Thai food. Here’s a recap of our most recent Sacramento Epicureans dining adventure featuring these cuisines.


Sacramento Epicureans Explore Laos and Thailand

Vientiane is the capital of Laos and the name of Sacramento Epicurean’s latest dining adventure. For nearly a decade, this tiny family owned and operated West Sacramento establishment has been known for serving up a consistently good mix of Laotian and Thai standards.

Because Laos is Thailand’s northern neighbor, migration between the two nations has resulted in an intermingling of the two cuisines. However, Laotian food is characterized by sticky rice, galangal, lemongrass and padaek or fermented fish sauce.

Laotian cuisine is often characterized by intense heat- hotter than Thai, although our dishes were prepared on the mild side for our event. Basically, our Thai and Laotian dinner was an amazing combination of sweet, hot and sour with a wide variety of contrasting textures.

Our full house of diners began the meal with Vientiane’s award-winning Lao Spring Rolls. These delicious Imperial Rolls were stuffed with fresh lettuce, rice noodles and cilantro, then served with lemon sauce for a light and refreshing start to the meal.

Stuffed Chicken Wings, also known in many places as Angel Wings, came next. This dish involves de-boning chicken wings, then dicing the chicken and mixing it with black pepper, silver noodles, onions and other spices, stuffing the mixture back into the chicken skin, then steaming and deep frying the wings until they’re ready to be served with cucumber sauce. Perhaps the most labor intensive dish in Lao/Thai cuisine, these stuffed chicken wings truly are heavenly.

Next up were tasty Prawn Rolls, or individual shrimp tails wrapped in rice paper, deep fried and served with sweet and sour sauce.

Papaya Salad, a Laotian staple that is also popular in Thailand came next. This salad is made by scraping the unripe rind of the papaya fruit into long strips and serving them as a vegetable with hot chili pepper, garlic, tomatoes, fish sauce and lime.

Regarded as the national dish of Lao, the minced chicken salad known as Larb was served next. Featuring chicken tossed with hot chili pepper, cilantro, roasted ground rice, green onions and lime, this refreshing dish enlivened Epicureans’ taste buds, preparing diners for the entrees.

For many in Sacramento, Vientiane is synonymous with Garlic Pork. Thin strips of lean pork were marinated in garlic and black pepper for a melt-in-your-mouth consistency and rich flavor that permeates the white rice dished out of beautiful silver serving dishes.

The sweet/spicy flavor of lemongrass and kaffir in the grilled Laotian Sausage was a treat for many Epicureans experiencing Asian sausage for the first time. Additional flavors of hot chili pepper, green onions make these sausages little medallions of flavor.

Our next dish puzzled some of our guests. Drunken noodles? No. Pad thai? Almost. Plates heaping with fried rice noodles, egg, ground pork, bean sprouts and green onions were actually Koa Mee, or the Laotian equivalent of pad thai. Whatever diners called it, it was delicious and perhaps the most enjoyed dish of the evening.

Finally, to wrap up the main portion of our dinner, platters of Red Curry Chicken were passed around the tables. Vientiane’s Red Curry is not to be missed, as it conjures up serious alchemy, turning chicken, coconut milk, red chili curry, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and basil into a velvety-smooth, seductive mixture unlike other offerings.

To keep the meal nutritionally balanced, a colorful combination of fresh vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions, zucchini and corn were sauteed in a slightly sweet sauce with herbs and tofu.

For dessert, the few Epicureans with room left to spare enjoyed sweetened sticky rice topped with sesame seeds and succulent chunks of ripe mango.

All in all, it was a delicious feast of Lao and Thai delights that should keep Epicureans coming back for more. Thank you for joining us and we hope to see you at an event soon.

Want to join me on one of these adventures? Contact me at

Vientiane Restaurant
1001 Jefferson Blvd
West Sacramento, CA 95691

(916) 373-1556
Mon 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tue 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Wed 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Thu 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fri 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sat 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sun Closed

Upcoming Events
February – Ethiopian
March – Seafood

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