This is a Laotian restaurant. Yes. Laotian. You’ve probably never heard of Laotian food – or honestly may not even remember that Laos is a country. It’s a country that has been overshadowed by neighboring Thailand and Vietnam – in both politics and in cuisine. During the Vietnam Conflict, Laos was known for having as many bombs dropped on it as the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia combined in all of WWII. Seriously. It equated to “nearly a TON for every person in Laos.” This country’s ruins are often of temples and structures not destroyed by centuries of neglect or age-old conflicts, but by American bombings.
Khao Noodle Shop sits catty-corner to Jimmy’s Food Store in East Dallas – another one of my all-time favorites. The waitress said someone told her the restaurant was in a “sketchy” area. While accurate, East Dallas is getting more and more gentrified. This noodle shop is an interesting mix of East Dallas hole-in-the-wall and Uptown Dallas cuisine. Half of the shop’s 20 seats are short plastic stools – so you really do feel like you’re in SE Asia – but the cuisine, and its presentation, is elevated in a way that many ethnic foods fail to achieve.
The waitresses and chef at Khao Noodle Shop are very kind and excited to share their food with you. Rightly so. Describing the restaurant’s name, Chef Donny says, “The word Khao has many meanings: ‘khao’ by itself means rice or food, ‘khao gun’ means come together, ‘kin khao’ means to come eat and ‘khao kin’ means food. The name represents everything I hope the shop to become—a home for friends and family to come together to enjoy great Laotian food.” I’ve listed a few of these great Laotian dishes below.
- Mee katee – rice noodles with coconut curry
- Khao soi – rice noodles with fermented pork
- Moutsayhang – pork, egg, sticky rice and seaweed
- Sakoo – tapioca dumplings with peanut and sweet radish; great texture
- Khao gee – fluffy egg bites
- Fried shrimp bites
- Lao sausage – spiced with lemongrass
A bit pricey for the amount of food you get, but it’s delicious, unique and beautifully presented. One of my new favorite spots in Dallas!
What to get? Bring a couple friends and try everything on the menu! My favorites are the Lao sausage, sakoo and khao gee.