I love Thai food, but prefer Northern Thai over the regular Bangkok style of Thai cuisine which tends to be on the sweet side. Laos, which is north of Thailand has some similar dishes to its southern neighbor, but their food tends to be less sweet — something I enjoy tremendously.
I love Vientiane, named after the capital of Laos, and is a family-run business. On weekends and evenings, the restaurant is jam packed which is why I prefer to visit during lunch time on weekdays! Situated in the heart of lil Saigon, you probably wouldn’t even see it if you’re not actively looking for it.
The kids who work here already know what I want before I order. I guess we usually get the same things, especially Chicken Satay which is my son’s favorite and is under $5. The flavors are incredible with hints of coconut and various spices.
I love their salads and usually will order the Yum Neur or Thai Beef Salad for my son. Vibrant lettuce and a handful of mint are tossed in a salty tart dressing with a hint of sweetness and topped with tender beef slices.
Or, you can try the Nam Tok which is a variation of the beef salad but sprinkled with toasted rice which thickens the sauce a little and allows it to cling on to the meat and salad. It also adds a roasted nutty flavor to the salad.
Seafood Salad is a little sweet for my taste, but you’ll marvel at the tender calamari which literally almost melts in your mouth.
For vegetables, my favorite is the Stir-Fried Chinese Watercress, although technically, it is water spinach (ong choy) and not cress. Stir fried with garlic and salted soy beans, this is so good on a bowl of steamed rice!
Stir fried tofu and Thai eggplant is not on the menu, but you can definitely order it. Great vegetarian dish, Thai basil adds that fragrant aroma to this already delicious dish.
If you are adventurous, I suggest Lemon Trout although it comes whole with bones intact and is around $15. The fish arrives in a metal pan swimming in a lemongrass and basil infused broth. A dipping sauce of chilis, lemon juice and various spices is served alongside and adds a whole new dimension to the mild trout.
Dishes are all under $10, and most hover around $7-$8. Everything is delicious and so reasonable. Whenever I’m craving Thai, and I have to drive the 25 minutes anyway, I will come here over Thai Nakorn simply because I can get the Laos dishes I like as well. Next time you’re in the area, pay them a visit! It is definitely worth it if you love Thai food!
Vientiane Thai Laos
10262 Westminster Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843