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Spicy Thai Lao — Excellent Eastern Thai & Laotian in Burbank

Spicy Thai Lao — Excellent Eastern Thai & Laotian in Burbank
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  • Post #31 - May 22nd, 2014, 2:24 pm
    Post #31 - May 22nd, 2014, 2:24 pm Post #31 - May 22nd, 2014, 2:24 pm
    Today I was treated to a free scoop of homemade ice cream at the end of my meal.
    Maybe they recognize me now, after my third trip in 2 weeks....
  • Post #32 - May 24th, 2014, 8:15 pm
    Post #32 - May 24th, 2014, 8:15 pm Post #32 - May 24th, 2014, 8:15 pm
    I gotta echo most of the sentiment about the jerky. Given that we had like seven dishes for three, and no clunker, the fact that the jerky was easily my favorite says a lot about how good it was. And it was not just the wholesome beef, it was the homemade Thai pickles on the side, something I've never quite had--it was described as their version of kimchee, and that sauce of roasted scallions, garlic, tamarind and more. Wow.

    There were a lot of second place dishes, but maybe somewhere slightly between first and second were the fish cakes. Really the best Thai fish cakes I've ever had. They were maybe battered on top of the normal cake, they had thick, crunchy crust. It was like eating a Thai fishburger.

    I wonder it it is a bit of thinking that this is more of a "for what it is" kinda place. Like for being in Burbank, it's a very good Thai, or for having some unique specials, it's pretty cool. I think you're fooling yourself if you think simply that this is a niche place. It does not have a huge menu and a lot of the things we've gone to like at other Chicago area Thai places, but in what they do well, it's right up there.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #33 - May 28th, 2014, 7:38 pm
    Post #33 - May 28th, 2014, 7:38 pm Post #33 - May 28th, 2014, 7:38 pm
    I'm happy to see people haven't forgotten about Spicy Thai Lao. Here's something I meant to post after our Lao banquet in February but I forgot. I didn't edit it much so some might be a little out of date.

    laikom wrote:This was my first experience eating at a restaurant that bills itself as being even partially Lao, but considering that the chef is from Thailand, and that almost every dish served here is also served in Iasn restaurants, it got me wondering what exactly is Lao food, and should we really call this a Lao restaurant?

    Although Lao is part of the restaurant's name, their sign describes the food as Northeastern Thai.

    Image

    I've probably been guilty of overemphasizing their Lao offerings, but I focused on the then-off-menu Lao dishes because the cuisine is so underrepresented in Chicago. Certainly, as you point out, there's a lot of overlap between Northeastern Thai and Lao food, and probably no consensus definition of Lao food is possible. For our banquet Kaew, whose first language is Lao but who grew up in the northeastern corner of Thailand very close to the Laos border, simply chose those dishes she's most comfortable with and that tend toward Lao rather than Thai. I doubt she'd claim most of the food was purely Lao. Much of her cooking is distinctly different than what I've eaten at Thai or Lao restaurants (all in the US, most in Chicago). I notice their new supplemental Lao menu uses the term "Isan Lao Style." Regardless of labels, it's a different style of cooking than what I've come across before.

    In an interesting coincidence it was almost exactly ten years ago that we last enjoyed a Lao banquet. You can read Seth Zurer's account of our Lao meal at Nhu Hoa (a very good Lao restaurant on Argyle, now closed). Ant eggs with an Old Potrero chaser!

    It's easy to get carried away with the "secret menu" Lao stuff and miss some excellent food hidden in plain view on their regular menu. Even dishes that might sound ordinary are often given a different twist. I've barely scratched the surface but want to mention a few dishes from their regular menu I tried recently. First, here's the menu [from March 2014].

    Image Image

    jimswside wrote:curious, I have seen pictures of their storefront that mention "lunch specials" anyone who has visited spotted them on the menu? I have not seen them on the online menu.

    Here's a scan from the other side of what I think is the current [March 2014] menu.

    Image

    Jefe wrote:Had a great 2nd outing here yesterday. Did not run out of time to try the soup this time. We ordered spicy and ours had a much more prominent slick of chile oil floating on its surface. It was hot, but not as much as our salad and curry later in the meal. Another question– in previous versions has the celery been cooked al dente? I appreciated the crispness and it called to mind our conversation about the potatoes in the mussaman. Anyway, fantastic dish, with its dark broth, deep flavor, celery, and rice, its somewhat reminiscent of gumbo. I believe there is a toasting of chile employed somewhere in the preparation which lends a subtle smokiness, also gumbo-esque.

    Here's a somewhat spicier bowl of kow-tome we had more recently.

    Image

    I think a certain level of heat is almost essential in this soup. Even more recently I tried a bowl with much lower chili content, hardly any red to be seen. It seemed unbalanced and paradoxically the smidgen of chili heat somehow seemed sharper and more pronounced. A surprising gustatory illusion. The beef version we had at the banquet suffered a bit of this fate but not to that degree. This is a dish I'd strongly suggest ordering hot.

    It's difficult for me to avoid ordering kow-tome every visit but I finally managed to try the oxtail soup.

    Image

    This soup is quite mild, somewhat pho-like, with cinnamon and star anise flavors predominating. According to the menu it's prepared in a pressure cooker so the vegetables become significantly softer than is usual here.

    These chicken patties, the avian analogue of tod mun, were surprisingly good. I'd almost given up on fish cakes after so many disappointments in many different restaurants but I'm looking forward to trying Kaew's version.

    Image

    Her cooking generally shies away from sweet but these crusty beauties sat on a plate glazed with a sweet sauce. The cakes' craggy surface prevents them from soaking up too much sweetness.

    Before I get to our Lao banquet, here's another shot of the unnamed beef curry discussed several times in previous posts. It wasn't served at our big meal but it goes by the name beef pad-tamin on the new Isan Lao menu. It's been a little different each time but this might have been my favorite rendition.

    Image

    Whole green peppercorns added an aromatic note to the heat of the red pepper and the earthiness of the turmeric. Some egg rolls, soup and/or one of the salads, beef pad-tamin, and I'm happy.

    A few weeks ago [written in March 2014] dishes like that beef pad-tamin were available only by special request. While thinking about dishes for the Lao meal of February 16, Kaew and George decided to compile a printed Isan Lao menu and make copies available to everyone. Ordering the dishes we enjoyed a month ago should now be routine.

    Image Image Image Image

    The takeout menu posted farther above and this Isan Lao menu have been combined into several plastic-laminated pages that dine-in customers now receive.

    deesher wrote:Spicy Thai Lao is closed on Tuesdays. I tried to call for some time and on the tenth try I got an answering machine that actually picked up and stated this fact.

    Current hours are listed on their website (link in post #1). I'll add that information at the end of this post.

    jordanhojo wrote:Kow poon?

    Not on the menu but you never know what's possible until you ask. Personally, I'm more interested in trying the kow-soy (khao soi).

    On to our megameal of February 16th. . . We ate almost the entire Isan Lao menu from beginning to end. Even though they're only on the old menu, we started with egg rolls. How can you not get egg rolls here?

    Spicy Thai Lao Egg Roll
    Image

    These things are delicious. Makes you wonder why more cooks don't add curry spices and whole herb leaves to their egg rolls.

    Lao Style Cucumber Salad
    Image

    This salad was a great introduction for what was to follow. The contrast to the "usual" Thai cucumber salad couldn't be more clear. The expected sweetened vinegar marinade was replaced with the tartness of tamarind and the salty depth of fish paste. I loved this salad.

    Lao Style Chicken Wings
    Image

    This was the best version of wings I've had at STL. The taste of white pepper stood out from a complex mix of spices. The sauce was some seriously funky stuff.

    Lao Style Beef Jerky
    Image

    I liked the sweet-salty flavor and soft-chewy texture. Would go great with beer (or Mekong whiskey). Hmm…maybe we should organize a "drinking food" meal.

    Kow-Tome (with beef)
    Image

    Pleasant enough, but in the future I'll stick with my favorite version: chicken, extra spicy.

    Lao Style Tom-Yum
    Image

    This take on tom yum was bracingly tart, hot. and herbal I'll definitely have this again.

    Jackfruit Salad
    Image

    I've had this several times and always enjoy it. It's a good choice for those not up to the challenges of the bamboo salad.

    Bamboo Salad
    Image

    A very fine version, but the sewer-y aroma might be a bit much sometimes.

    Lard Neua
    Image

    I really liked the ultra-fine texture and spicy juices. This is why sticky rice was invented.

    Som-Tum
    Image

    The knife-cut, unpounded papaya strips and the ultra-tart dressing make this one of the most distinctive versions around. Salads are surely one of Kaew's strengths.

    Lao Style Chicken Sausage
    Image

    Fresh and vibrant (terms I've never used to describe Thai sausages) but unfortunately quite dry.

    Batu Lard Prik
    Image

    Too sweet. One of the few dishes I wouldn't order again.

    Pad-Cha Squid
    Image

    The aromatic sauce, heavy with pureed green peppercorns, was a good contrast to the other lighter flavors in the meal.

    Coconut Ice Cream with Sticky Rice
    Image

    A good ending. Due to lack of stomach space we missed out on the Beef Pad-Tamin (pictured earlier in this post) and Mango with Sticky Rice but otherwise I think we covered the entire new menu.

    Mike Sula's review of Spicy Thai Lao can be found in the March 6 issue of the Reader: Make the drive to Chicagoland's only Lao restaurant.

    —|—|—|—

    jimswside wrote:Your description of the Beef Pad Tamin is also right on. One of the better things I have eaten this year, the rough chopped herbs, spices, etc. made this dish pop. I asked for my version "medium" heat after learning from my 2 previous visits they mean business when they say hot. Even at "medium" this beef dish was a scorcher, but great.

    Yep. When you say "hot" you'd better understand what the word means. I appreciate that they haven't dialed down the heat-o-meter.

    Binko wrote:That beef tamin is probably my favorite food discovery of the year. The rest of the menu I've had has been solid (although I've found a couple dishes a bit too sweet for my tastes, like the mackerel and the masaman) , but that particular dish is transcendent, redolent of "green" and woody herbs and spices, and an assertive heat (I like this one searingly spicy). It's going to be hard to get me not to order it every time I visit here. Unfortunately, I get into this habit of finding one dish I really, really like at a restaurant, and then I go to that restaurant for that reason only. The beef tamin here is one of those restaurant/dish combos.

    Once I tried the beef pad tamin, I've had it every subsequent visit. Egg rolls every single time. I don't see anything wrong with that!

    The mackerel is simply too sweet for me to enjoy. The last time I ordered masuman, it seemed slightly sweeter than I remember. I wonder if it might be a new batch of paste.

    Vital Information wrote:No longer will, having to schlep out to Midway, be a schlep. Not when dinner comes next here. I'm pretty much ditto to all that above. My favorite Thai meal in some time. So many things worked for my wife and I. She does not eat flesh, and their insertion of tofu for beef in the pad tamin did nothing to denature the dish. In fact, I have not seen veg integrated so well into curries since the late, lamented Thai Grocery in Uptown. I have to say, she was pretty giddy with he veg eggroll too. Several hours after the meal, my lips still pleasantly tingled.

    I'm not too surprised to hear about the vegetarian dishes. Kaew's husband doesn't eat much meat so she's used to cooking that way. I assume she still uses some fish sauce etc. Has anyone tried to order pure vegetarian food here?

    Vital Information wrote:I gotta echo most of the sentiment about the jerky. Given that we had like seven dishes for three, and no clunker, the fact that the jerky was easily my favorite says a lot about how good it was. And it was not just the wholesome beef, it was the homemade Thai pickles on the side, something I've never quite had--it was described as their version of kimchee, and that sauce of roasted scallions, garlic, tamarind and more. Wow.


    Image

    I'm a fan of the jerky as well. Love the moist-chewy-salty-sweet texture and flavor, and the accompaniments. I think pairing the jerky with kimchee (topped with chopped fresh ginger) is somewhat new at Spicy Thai Lao. As I understand, it's not a traditional accompaniment, simply something Kaew thought would taste good, like curry-accented egg rolls.

    Spicy Thai Lao
    5357 State Rd
    Burbank IL
    708-424-1758
    http://spicythailao.com/
    Mon, Wed & Thu 11am-10pm; Fri & Sat 11am-midnight; Sun 2:30pm-9pm; closed Tue
  • Post #34 - May 28th, 2014, 9:40 pm
    Post #34 - May 28th, 2014, 9:40 pm Post #34 - May 28th, 2014, 9:40 pm
    So, does anyone know anything about beef tamin? I've never heard of it outside this restaurant, and I can't find any information on the Internet about it, besides links to Spicy Thai Lao. I've tried alternate spellings, I've casually looked through menus of Laotian food at other restaurants and cookbooks, and I haven't found any hits. I'm assuming it more commonly goes under a different spelling, or a slightly different name, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be.
  • Post #35 - May 28th, 2014, 11:09 pm
    Post #35 - May 28th, 2014, 11:09 pm Post #35 - May 28th, 2014, 11:09 pm
    Binko wrote:So, does anyone know anything about beef tamin? I've never heard of it outside this restaurant, and I can't find any information on the Internet about it, besides links to Spicy Thai Lao. I've tried alternate spellings, I've casually looked through menus of Laotian food at other restaurants and cookbooks, and I haven't found any hits. I'm assuming it more commonly goes under a different spelling, or a slightly different name, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be.


    I'm going to make up a totally spurious backstory in two links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos%E2%80 ... _relations
    http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/K ... 47305.html

    Se non è vero, è ben trovato. Sort of like XO sauce dishes, right? Countdown to Peter's correct etymology in under π days.

    Additional context link that may or may not work is here, but which tells a good yarn if you can get through. (Tamin is a harvesting knife in Malay. Of course it could likelier be a bad transliteration of beef tamarind, which is a Lao thing, but the Lao word is similar to Thai makham, and not tamarind, itself interestingly a romanized contraction of tamar hindi, or Hindi date, from the Arabic). I could call the restaurant, but really, who does that.
  • Post #36 - May 28th, 2014, 11:36 pm
    Post #36 - May 28th, 2014, 11:36 pm Post #36 - May 28th, 2014, 11:36 pm
    Binko wrote:So, does anyone know anything about beef tamin? I've never heard of it outside this restaurant, and I can't find any information on the Internet about it, besides links to Spicy Thai Lao. I've tried alternate spellings, I've casually looked through menus of Laotian food at other restaurants and cookbooks, and I haven't found any hits. I'm assuming it more commonly goes under a different spelling, or a slightly different name, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be.

    I could be completely wrong, but I think tamin means Tamil. So pad tamin is a South-Indian-style stir fry. Makes sense with all that turmeric. Relying heavily on Google Translate, Tamil = ทมิฬ (Thai) = thmiḷ (pronounced ta-MEEN) = ທະມິນ (Lao) = tha min.
  • Post #37 - May 29th, 2014, 1:02 am
    Post #37 - May 29th, 2014, 1:02 am Post #37 - May 29th, 2014, 1:02 am
    Rene G wrote:
    Binko wrote:So, does anyone know anything about beef tamin? I've never heard of it outside this restaurant, and I can't find any information on the Internet about it, besides links to Spicy Thai Lao. I've tried alternate spellings, I've casually looked through menus of Laotian food at other restaurants and cookbooks, and I haven't found any hits. I'm assuming it more commonly goes under a different spelling, or a slightly different name, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be.

    I could be completely wrong, but I think tamin means Tamil. So pad tamin is a South-Indian-style stir fry. Makes sense with all that turmeric. Relying heavily on Google Translate, Tamil = ทมิฬ (Thai) = thmiḷ (pronounced ta-MEEN) = ທະມິນ (Lao) = tha min.


    That was my suspicion. That said, I couldn't find any recipes for beef (pad) tamil that aligns with what Spicy Thai Lao serves. I wonder if it's a dish the owner came up with, or whether it has a completely different name it goes by.

    Also, I was looking through Malaysian recipes, as the turmeric, galangal, and lemongrass put me in the mind of Malaysian curries, but I couldn't find anything with that name.
  • Post #38 - May 30th, 2014, 7:43 pm
    Post #38 - May 30th, 2014, 7:43 pm Post #38 - May 30th, 2014, 7:43 pm
    Was in the area last week (sort of), so made the extra drive and (finally) stopped in..it was quite outstanding!

    Ended up with way too much food, and brought a lot of it home. Had the spicy egg roll (very good). And the spicy chicken wings (decent, but I'll skip those the next time - should have gone with the fish cakes or chicken patty maybe)..

    Had a spicy beef kow-tome..that is one of the best bowls of soup Ive ever had. I just noticed RG claims the chicken is better - I refuse to believe thats possible :-)They didnt skimp on the heat, and the rice, the garlic, the broth, the spice - really really good, even in 80 degree weather (made me sweat - in winter it would be even more fantastic). And it must surely be the best (and most filling) 4 buck dish in Chicagoland - I figured it would be a cup-sized version, but it was a *huge* bowl, probably enough of a meal with an appetizer..

    Also had the beef pad-tamin, which I mostly brought home - also outstanding, as has been stated several times.

    Spicy Thai Lao is really an excellent place (even on the basis of 1 trip, and about 4 dishes)...I think I preferred this meal to most of the great Thai meals Ive had around town (Spoon, TAC, ATK, Sticky Rice et al). At the very least, on any trip to Midway, it should be a must-stop for any LTHer!

    c8w
  • Post #39 - June 30th, 2014, 6:32 pm
    Post #39 - June 30th, 2014, 6:32 pm Post #39 - June 30th, 2014, 6:32 pm
    G Wiv wrote:I really need to get to Spicy Thai Lao.

    Took me months to finally get to Spicy Thai Lao, my loss. Seems odd to focus on the egg roll, but it was the best egg roll of my life, and I've eaten a lot* of egg rolls. Volcanically hot, mouth numbingly spicy crispy delicious turmeric heavy, Spicy Thai Lao's egg roll is my current pick for best bang for the buck (literally) in Chicagoland.

    Image

    Lunch overall was terrific, and they were very nice and super sweet. Seemed quite reasonably priced, especially as Crrush, aka Colleen Rush, treated

    Note:
    I took a few egg rolls to go and, even though its at the limit of my brides spice tolerance, she agrees they are fantastic.

    *uncharacteristic understatement.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #40 - August 4th, 2014, 8:16 am
    Post #40 - August 4th, 2014, 8:16 am Post #40 - August 4th, 2014, 8:16 am
    Id taken about 2 month break from Spicy Thai Lao after a stretch where I was eating lunch there as much as 2x a week, and even a couple dinners. Gotta say they are as good as ever.

    Beef Pad Tamin - spicy:

    Image


    interesting to look back through the thread and see different plate presentations for the heralded egg rolls.

    Sauce I had this day had some crushed peanuts in it -I had to add an extra order of the eggrolls to enhance my lunch special:

    Image

    if my mouth wasnt torn up from a recent visit to the oral surgeon Id be heading there today.
  • Post #41 - August 29th, 2014, 1:22 pm
    Post #41 - August 29th, 2014, 1:22 pm Post #41 - August 29th, 2014, 1:22 pm
    I stopped by for lunch today and learned while I was there that Spicy Thai Lao will be closed from August 31 to September 11, reopening on the 12th, as Kaew will be visiting Thailand. While they are closed, they will be remodeling the eating area, removing an unused office just off the service counter so they can add more seating.

    I had the jerky and a Lao Beef Salad, as I've been jonesing for Thai salads all morning since Da Beef tweeted a link to a bunch of them. I got the salad "medium" hot, which lit me up pretty good.

    Image
    Ronnie said I should probably tell you guys about my website so

    Hey I have a website.
    http://www.sandwichtribunal.com
  • Post #42 - March 28th, 2015, 12:16 pm
    Post #42 - March 28th, 2015, 12:16 pm Post #42 - March 28th, 2015, 12:16 pm
    This restaurant (and this board for pointing it out to me) made travel to Midway a completely different, and much more enjoyable, experience. I went with the wife before she flew out yesterday and can only echo everything said here. Spicy egg rolls were perfectly crisp and came with a tangy, almost clear sauce which seems different from the pictures in the thread. Based on the recommendations here, wife got the kow-tome with chicken and the beef pad-tamin, while I (as a vegetarian) went with the veggie tom kha and a veggie drunken mama noodle. The spice level for the medium was awesome, a great hit of heat that still let other flavors shine.

    One thing that I think is mentioned in this thread, but cannot be fully appreciated until there is just how incredibly large the soup serving is. It is easily four or five smaller cups of soup. The woman from the kitchen came out to let us know "the soup can be shared," but alas, since I didn't want to keep my wife from trying the kow-tome, we did not heed her warning. From all reports from the wife, it did not disappoint. The tom kha was light and balanced, with the coconut milk and citrus balanced by a good deal of heat. We ended up bringing home about half the soups and the beef pad-tamin (which the wife could not stop raving about, her most common phrase "different and amazing"). Service, both George and Zig, could not have been nicer. I would have loved to try some of the Lao salads, but most seemed to have fish sauce, which I appreciated them labeling, and I was too hesitant to ask if they could be made vegetarian (and, as it turned out, we ordered too much food as is).

    There is no way in the world I ever would have found this place without this board (and the GNR Google map). Now it will make me try to get in the area more often. Thanks!
  • Post #43 - April 10th, 2015, 1:29 pm
    Post #43 - April 10th, 2015, 1:29 pm Post #43 - April 10th, 2015, 1:29 pm
    I was offered a choice of veggie or chicken eggroll yesterday and I asked if they were both made in the Spicy Thai Lao style. My server (who I hadn't seen before, though it had been awhile) confirmed. Without too much thought, I opted for chicken. This eggroll was different– perhaps an off batch– but it lacked green herbage and while I could have been spiced-out from my beef pad tamin, other than a slight hue of yellow, I didn't detect much curry. It was pretty boring. Does anyone know if they offer more than one recipe of eggroll?

    Beef pad tamin was on point and with enough food for two lunches at $5.99, I guess beggars can't be choosers. Just a bit let down to have a lesser version of what I declared upthread "my favorite eggroll ever".
  • Post #44 - April 10th, 2015, 2:04 pm
    Post #44 - April 10th, 2015, 2:04 pm Post #44 - April 10th, 2015, 2:04 pm
    Hi,

    Speculating not too wildly, their customer base has quite a few Muslims. It may be the chicken is for this market segment.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #45 - April 10th, 2015, 2:13 pm
    Post #45 - April 10th, 2015, 2:13 pm Post #45 - April 10th, 2015, 2:13 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    Speculating not too wildly, their customer base has quite a few Muslims. It may be the chicken is for this market segment.

    Regards,


    I can see that they'd offer chicken instead of pork, but the option is a choice of chicken or veggie. My question is whether they use two distinct recipes for the two– one that is more heavily spiced than the other.
  • Post #46 - April 16th, 2015, 12:33 pm
    Post #46 - April 16th, 2015, 12:33 pm Post #46 - April 16th, 2015, 12:33 pm
    It had been a bit since I have been to Spicy Thai Lao, couple o' months.

    went with the standbyes - the beef-pad-tamin lunch special, tossed in 2 extra spicy veggie eggrolls as well - ToGo:

    Image

    Eggrolls were same I remembered, maybe a little smaller( I prefer the veggie to the chicken - (I believe this is the singular item I have found where a veggie version trumps one with animal flesh).

    Beef-Pad-Tamin was as good as ever. Ordered medium spicy. Hot enough to make me sweat and have to wait 10 minutes for my mouth to cool down for my after meal smoke.

    Gotta make sure I get here a few more times before my office moves.
  • Post #47 - September 1st, 2015, 11:21 pm
    Post #47 - September 1st, 2015, 11:21 pm Post #47 - September 1st, 2015, 11:21 pm
    I stopped by last week. The cooking was stunning as ever. Beef pad-tamin, different every time as reported above, had a garden of herbs and a forest of lemongrass. Eggrolls were long; the variation is fun. Kao-tome is really an essential takeaway, as it gets better and better as things soak together (I recommend it as the next morning's breakfast, the way it's traditionally eaten). The ginger threads are brighter and zippier than most I encounter. Crunching through the various roughcut vegetables and herbs at STL is a positively therapeutic and even synesthetic experience for me.

    Some changes: menu prices were rising as of 9/1. I arrived during the grace period where the printed menu had gone north but they were voluntarily offering the old prices to recognized repeat customers. Beef pad-tamin is no longer a lunch special and must be ordered as a full entree - they have reduced the number of possible lunch special options. Zig is hoping business picks up especially for the Thai/Lao part of the menu - the "Chinese" menu items are mainly what is moving at the moment.

    Kaew's hand at the stove is easily worth whatever bump from the LTH honeymoon period. Don't miss the chance to explore these flavors when you're near Midway (or have a free non-Tuesday for a pilgrimage).
  • Post #48 - March 11th, 2016, 10:52 pm
    Post #48 - March 11th, 2016, 10:52 pm Post #48 - March 11th, 2016, 10:52 pm
    Well, today I found the answer to the mystery of the beef pad tamin. Apparently, the "tamin" part is a misspelling, according to Ziggy, and it's supposed to be "k(h)amin," which is the Thai word for "turmeric." That makes a lot more sense.
  • Post #49 - March 12th, 2016, 12:31 am
    Post #49 - March 12th, 2016, 12:31 am Post #49 - March 12th, 2016, 12:31 am
    Binko wrote:Well, today I found the answer to the mystery of the beef pad tamin. Apparently, the "tamin" part is a misspelling, according to Ziggy, and it's supposed to be "k(h)amin," which is the Thai word for "turmeric." That makes a lot more sense.

    Haha, that is actually very awesome! :lol: Thanks, for filling in the blanks.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #50 - March 12th, 2016, 8:36 am
    Post #50 - March 12th, 2016, 8:36 am Post #50 - March 12th, 2016, 8:36 am
    I should also add, the beef pad tamin/kamin is still as great as ever. One of my favorite, if not my favorite, meals in the Chicago area. And I love that when I ask for it "spicy" they make it so. The joint was jumping last night. Full inside and lots of take out orders. Glad to see them busy.
  • Post #51 - July 24th, 2016, 12:12 pm
    Post #51 - July 24th, 2016, 12:12 pm Post #51 - July 24th, 2016, 12:12 pm
    Hi,

    On a Midway Airport run, stopped at Spicy Thai Lao for dinner.

    The Chef's husband recounted a story of a frequent customer who grew up in Malaysia. On one visit, the Chef made from a Malaysian curry. It was described as a bit more sour and more spice intense than other curries. This customer had not had this curry since he was 4-years-old. He now returns for a weekly fix.

    Once I clarified if this spice intensity was not chili related, I inquired if they would prepare it for me. I promised I would still pay for it, if I happened not to like it. The chef came out to double-check. When I commented I like tamarind-based soups, I got the green light.

    It wasn't quite as sour as they suggested, it certainly was a complex spice treatment. Unexpectedly, there was coconut milk present. I thought I might need rice, until I learned there were noodles present as well as shrimp, beef and vegetables.

    It is an off-menu item, which was really quite delightful.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #52 - March 23rd, 2017, 12:48 pm
    Post #52 - March 23rd, 2017, 12:48 pm Post #52 - March 23rd, 2017, 12:48 pm
    I don't get to Spicy Thai Lao as much as I would like since Costco changed their Bedford Park store into a business center I did stop in last week for take out. Unfortunately they were out of my go to beer Singha so I tried the 5 rabbits Super Pils while I waited. I got talking with George and must have said medium as to heat and my bride could not finish her beef salad. The spice definitely slowed my consumption of the Beef Pad Tamin and my beverage consumption was higher than normal but I still enjoyed the very different and unfamiliar tastes of the dish. The Kow Tome was flavorful and I guess this I ordered mild but asked for a container of chili oil on the side which allow me to spice it up for myself and keep it my for my wife.

    I need to remember this place and more often as I have enjoyed each meal and my 2 year old grandson devours the Kow Tome so much we have to get two order to have enough to go around
  • Post #53 - January 21st, 2018, 1:53 pm
    Post #53 - January 21st, 2018, 1:53 pm Post #53 - January 21st, 2018, 1:53 pm
    I finally had an opportunity to dine at Spicy Thai Lao on Friday, having lunch with a relative who flew into Midway. I've had Lao-inflected Thai food (or Thai-inflected Lao food?) in the past that impressed me, especially when I lived in the Detroit suburbs and would frequent a Thai Buddhist temple's Saturday market. (Does Chicago have anything like that, with housewives selling big containers of homemade nam prik?)

    The owner lady was incredibly indulging to my requests. Nothing we had, I think, was on the menu. We shared Kao Tom Goong, rice soup with shrimp, nam prik kapi and with vegetables and sticky rice, and mushroom larb.

    The owner was very happy that I liked her nam prik; she made it how she likes it herself---slightly sweet (palm sugar?). She joked that she was happy to have someone who likes it that way, since her son and husband prefer it without any sweetness. There was also a good assortment of fried and raw vegetables.

    The larb was excellent, and I am happy that she indulged my request to make it with mushrooms rather than meat. It was funky, savory, tart, and fiery all at once.

    In all, this was one of my favorite experiences in months. We felt as warmly welcomed as family, and my fussy requests were honored in full.
  • Post #54 - May 27th, 2018, 8:25 am
    Post #54 - May 27th, 2018, 8:25 am Post #54 - May 27th, 2018, 8:25 am
    After reading about a S.E. Asian restaurant
    serving a Cuisine not normally found in Chicago (Laotian ,Cambodian & Burmese foods are greatly underrepresented in Chicago-IMHO)-
    I was anticipating a great meal.

    Especially- given a "schlep" all the way to the far Sout-West-corner of Chicago, in a suburb that isn't exactly "known"
    for great ethnic dining experiences, yet-
    I had high hopes.

    Man- how quick these hopes and expectations - crashed!

    The first dish that we ordered were
    the Spicy Laotian Fried Chicken Wings.
    The sloppy-goopy-overly-sweetened sauce, overwhelmed an otherwise nicely fried chicken wing.
    The sauce was NOT served in a cup as Ronnie Suburban had depicted-
    but were swimming in a 1/2"+ of sauce,
    that was neither "Laotian"- nor "Thai"
    but Americanized to the point of reminding me of
    a Fast-Casual-Place like a Chili's or some-other-"Family-Restaurant".

    All too often- a major complaint of many Thai people I know
    is the way American-Thai Restaurants
    seem to think Americans only want super sweet dishes-
    and whether it be Pad-Thai, or another commonly ordered Thai dish-
    the kitchen sends out a un-naturally-sweetened
    variation of what a dish is supposed to be.

    ImageWhat Shitty Food looks like by R. Kramer, on Flickr

    Look at this normally "simple" dish- a Cucumber Salad.

    Do you see a "translucent" cucumber on the left side of the plate?
    That is not a healthy cucumber.
    It's one that is either "Past-Due"- or
    been frozen.
    That is not food- that should ever leave a Kitchen.
    ImageSpicy-Thai-Lao- do not eat here. by R. Kramer, on Flickr
    A simple salad- this was not.
    Add in a funky smelling "Nam Pla"- not sure what brand of Fish Sauce she sources- but- its not the one in my cabinet (Red Boat, Tipparos, and the blue-bottle-brand from Seafood City) but the horrible funkiness was not attractive.
    It was foul.

    Read great reviews of the Laotian-Egg Rolls.
    Not a fan.
    Again- a funky/foul odor- curtailed my ability to finish one.
    ImageTerrible Laotian Egg Roll @ Spicy Thai Lao,Burbank,IL- by R. Kramer, on Flickr

    The last dish- a Ground Chicken-Larb- (on their menu as "Lard")- was a overly sauced- again, nasty smelling fish-ey smell (not a fermented Shrimp Paste, not a Mudfish-paste, just a bad brand of Fish Sauce) that I found inedible.
    (Sorry- no image)
    Just cannot believe how bad a food experience I had here.
    Maybe- they changed owners?
    Whatever the case- don't go here.
    Really bad food.
  • Post #55 - May 27th, 2018, 9:19 am
    Post #55 - May 27th, 2018, 9:19 am Post #55 - May 27th, 2018, 9:19 am
    Sorry to hear of your experience. Sounds like you caught them on an off day. I agree about that cucumber (looks like it was frozen to me. Happens to mine when they're too deep in the crisper.) I should say, though, that I have noted that some of their items are a bit sweet to my tastes, and those have always been on the sweet side (as I look over my comment from four years ago about this.)

    I was there a couple weeks ago, and, to me, it was still great as ever and their turmeric beef (beef tamin on the menu) is still one of my favorite dishes in the entire Chicagoland area. There is nothing else like it around (in a good way). Or this could just be a case of de gustibus and all that, of course.

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