Have you ever eaten food that made you feel like you were being hugged from the inside? Otherwise, I suggest you go to Sao Lao Thai Café, 5013 N. Shepherd Dr.
Since opening last October, this place has been my go-to spot for a casual dinner with friends or a trustworthy takeout. Although the menu is smaller than most Thai restaurants, each offering is made with love and you’ll taste it from the very first bite.
A must-try appetizer is the Lao sausage with sticky rice and Lao tomato sauce, with just the right amount of spice and heat from the sauce to make your taste buds sing.
The Thai red curry with sliced ribeye, bell peppers, purple eggplant and basil is mild enough to please anyone scared of traditional Thai heat and is my favorite.
When I asked chef and owner Souli Phaduangdet what her favorite menu item was, she said Boat Noodle Soup. She told me it took her seven years to perfect this recipe and when she was finally happy with the result, she cried. It’s proof of all the dedication to food. I tried almost all the dishes on the menu but not this one. This should be fixed soon.
Another soup worth mentioning is the chicken noodle soup from Laos, with handmade noodles in a chicken broth simmered slowly for eight hours with chicken, quail eggs, coriander and green onions. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered if you don’t feel well.
A word of warning, though: some Lao dishes are known to be very spicy, so choose your spice level carefully. My suggestion is to start low and add the savory chili sauce that is available.
On a recent trip, I ordered the drunken noodles with stir-fried wide noodles and ribeye with a medium spice level. In two bites, my mouth was on fire and my nose was running. However, I couldn’t resist eating these spicy noodles and was grateful to have my trusty Thai iced tea as a drink option.
Other drinks on offer include the usual suspects of canned drinks and cane juice. However, I usually take the BYOB option and pay the $5 capping fee, which is waived on Tuesday nights.
Finish your meal with the sticky rice with coconut and mango. It’s a great way to cool the remaining fire on your tongue and fix everything in the world.
The Sao Lao Thai Café is a welcome addition to the growing number of local eateries in the neighborhood and is definitely worth a visit. Chef Souli is the heart and soul of this place and makes life better one bite at a time.
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