Noodle Envy

The Piquant Charms of Flavor Lao Bowl

Those charms include one of the city's best noodle soups.

By Allecia Vermillion September 20, 2021 Published in the Fall 2021 issue of Seattle Met

Everything is better with sticky rice.

Image: Amber Fouts

The orange storefront on Aurora Avenue looks fairly unassuming, but inside a trove of noodle soups steam up Seattle's (modest, but expanding) Lao food landscape. 

Much of the menu centers on bowls of noodle soup. But flip past that first section, to the part of the menu equivocally named "Lao Foods" and some homestyle favorites await. Kao poon, a spicy bowl of coconut milk broth and rice noodles, arrives at the table piled with ground pork, shredded chicken, and red flecks of chili—light enough for Laos’s tropical climate, but serious cold-weather comfort. Chubbier rice noodles populate the nuanced kao piak sen chicken soup; meanwhile, non-brothy staples like papaya salad, spicy sausages, and nam khao tod deliver savory crunch and lots of fresh herbs.

Owner Vaenphet Khounoudom and family built the sort of low-key, big-flavor standby every neighborhood craves—especially when you factor in the punchy Thai iced tea and coffee. 

Kao poon, the hangover slaying, malady-curing coconut curry noodle soup.

Image: Amber Fouts


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