Look for this market as the restaurant has no signs.
This is truly a hidden gem in Orange County. Yes they have “basic Thai” dishes but really you should come here for Laotian food. If you study the menu you will see some Laotian dishes but you should also make a visit to the counter where you will find more Laotian dishes. 2 items with rice is $6. Cheaper and tastier than fast food combo meal!
So I had:
Lao Chicken Noodle Soup. House made noodles that are Udon like but less cylinder shape. Slightly thick broth with fried shallots , cilantro, and garlic throughout. Was encouraged to use a little tableside chile oil, use the darker one. Comforting and tasty.
Papaya Salad, Lao style. Couldn’t be more different than Thai style, very funky and fermented. I am a wuss with this. Be sure to get some sticky rice. The padek/fermented fish sauce defeated me!
This soup was from the table! Bamboo Soup. Lots of bamboo, some green veg I can’t identify (look at that murky green color!), pumpkin, herbs/spices, and padek. You can taste a little of the funk but it is balanced out by sour, and savory notes. This is a instant favorite for me. This is a must order. Yes you can get a bowl of this, another dish, and rice for $6.
Will definitely be back to explore more of the dishes. Had great service from one of the workers here. As often with these mom-n-pop places you express interest in the food and culture you get benefits ~
cough~ freebies~ future recommendations~cough