Casual Food DiningFood ★★★★☆Ambiance ★★★☆☆Service Creativity ★★★★☆Value ★★★★★
$15-25 meal for 2 with soft drink (no alcohol)
Laos Food in Greensboro! How did I miss this?
I stumbled across a Laotian Restaurant in Greensboro! I must have driven by this restaurant 20x and never noticed it sitting behind the Alounemay Asian Market. This is really a shame as the food is pretty good and I have missed out on their food! This is not their first location, this restaurant/ market was originally located elsewhere in Greensboro and they move here about a year ago. The Lao Kitchen is definitely one of the hidden gems of Greensboro. It is barely mentioned on Yelp or any other internet source. This is a hidden gem you must go visit.
There is another Lao restaurant scheduled to open soon in downtown Greensboro the Lao Restaurant and Bar on Elm Street. The News and Record reported this as the "FIRST Lao Restaurant in Greensboro" which is incorrect as Lao Kitchen was first!
The Lao Kitchen is fairly easy to find, once you know it exists. It is located next to the old Bill's Pizza Pub that closed down a couple of years ago and right across the street from Thai Corner Kitchen on Gate City Blvd roughly 1/2 mile south of the Coliseum area. The restaurant is located on the back side of Alounemay Asian Market. There is plenty of parking right behind the market. The restaurant reminds me of many of the small restaurants that I ate at in Thailand. A very common restaurant-style on the streets of Bangkok are small restaurants with a small open kitchen in the front where you ordered your food and it was cooked to order in front of you. Lao Kitchen is very similar, the food is prepared right behind the counter and it is served fresh piping hot from the kitchen. While this may not be a familiar concept in the USA, it is the authentic format in many SE Asian countries.
Being a self-service restaurant, they do not get a rating for service. The restaurant is clean and basic with some Laotian art on the walls and SE Asian Music playing.
The restaurant has very limited hours. So it is best for lunch or an early dinner. However, it is worth visiting. The restaurant is very small with ordering done at the counter and the restaurant has seating for roughly a dozen people. The menu is very limited and has a small selection of Lao style food which is very similar to Thai Food and some Vietnamese Ban Mih sandwiches. The staff was very friendly and helpful.
With Thailand and Laos sharing a long border, it is expected that the foods will be similar and Larb is considered to be the national dish of Laos. So, many Thai dishes are actually Lao dishes such as papaya salad, larb and somtam. Lao dishes are normally served with sticky rice. Dishes on the menu were all very familar dishes that you would find in most Thai Restaurants, Larb, Pad Thai, Yum Woon Sen, and Curry. One dish that I did not try, but will is the Kaho Piak which is a Lao chicken noodle soup.
Lao Kitchen recommended the Pad Thai which is one of my more favorite Thai dishes and that I even had a chance to sample around Bangkok and Phuket several years ago. The Lao version is similar to what I had in Thailand, but it had less fish sauce and not quite as sour. The Lao Kitchens Pad Thai was not as sweet as many Pad Thai that are severed in this area. It also was not served with Peanuts. The Pad Thai was delicious, but for my tastes I added a bit more fish sauce and I do this as well with all the Pad Thai dishes I have had in the US. The Lao Kitchen version is also not as pasty as many of the local Pad Thai. The Lao version is also less sour with less lime. The differences are subtle, between the typical Thai version, but overall, I felt the Lao Kitchen's Pad Thai was better than most served in Greensboro.
The tables all had fish sauce, pepper sauce, sriracha, and hoisin sauce to adjust the dishes to your liking.
Overall, I felt the food was very good and I am looking forward to returning to try more of their dishes. I did not have time to visit the market which is attached to the restaurant. This is an added bonus, as you can get a good meal and then do some shopping!