Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vientiane Restaurant

Vientiane Restaurant
1001 Jefferson Blvd, 500
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 373-1556

I met up with a few other foodies from the Sacramento Food Group. It was nice to meet other people who love food as much as I do. We ordered a bunch of dishes family style, so let's get to it.

Papaya salad #9: Green papaya, hot chili pepper, garlic, tomatoes, fish sauce and lime. This was a great start to the meal. I think it hit almost every sensation; sweetness, coolness, a crunch and fresh freshness from the papaya, hot and spicy from the chili pepper, tartness and acidity from the tomatoes, acidity from the lime and saltiness and a little earthiness from the fish sauce. It was cool and refreshing, but hot an spicy at the same time. I have never encountered a dish quite like this. Highly recommended!

Stuffed chicken wings #4: Chicken wings stuffed with ground chicken, black pepper, silver noodle, onions served with fresh cucumber sauce

This was akin to a Laotian buffalo wing minus the heat. That would be later. It was like a tasty sausage with the chicken skin. The noodles mixed in with the ground chicken meat provided an interesting texture.

Lao sausage # 51: Ground pork with garlic, lemongrass, hot chili pepper, green onions and kaffir lime leaves.

The sausage was nicely seared on the outside. The main difference between this and other sausage was the coarseness of the ingredients. The pork was coarsely ground and the green onion was still in chunks. There was some kind culinary magic going on. The combination of lemongrass, garlic and Kaffir lime leaves created an interesting background flavor, something like vanilla or Chinese five spice. We interrogated the owner and she would not give us the secret ingredient. Overall, the sausage was very tasty and was not too heavy.

Red Curry with beef #76: Red chili curry, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and basil.

This was a good curry with layers of flavor; the lemongrass was front and center in this curry and the beef was tender. This was another solid dish.

Sweet sticky rice with mango #85:

The sticky rice was, I think sweetened with coconut milk, warm and soft. This provided a nice contrast to the mango that was cool, firm and not so sweet.

We also had these other dishes. They were good, but I would try the aforementioned dishes above before trying these.

Squid salad # 11: Squid with chili paste, ginger, red onions, fresh cilantro and lime.

Larb #14: Chopped pork, tossed with hot chili pepper, cilantro, green onions and lime

Nam Vahn #89 (tapioca jelly and a variety of fruits drenched with coconut milk.)

The ingredient used are similar to Vietnamese and Thai, but the combinations have different flavors. Overall, I highly recommend this place this is now my favorite Asian restaurant in Sacramento.

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