>> Bane Phonkeo's Food To Go | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday, 27 December 2019

Bane Phonkeo's Food To Go

LAOS 🇱🇦

Because they have so much less familiarity with the majority of people of Southern California and the rest of the nation, Lao business owners often offer some foods that are claimed by Thailand as well and insert that comforting "Thai food" into their names and menus. This is not the case at the lovely Bane Phonkeo's, which is attached to the Muang Lao Market in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of San Diego.

A hyper-focused kitchen attached to a market that together bring the products and tastes that a small community misses so much from back home? Was Bane Phonkeo's Food To Go created by some algorithm that was geared to exactly why this website exists in the first place? Even when driving up and parking you can tell this is an exciting place to eat.


Despite being part of the name, the "to go" is not forced, and there are quite a few tables in the open dining room. Each table is set up with a tray of condiments to spice or sweeten up your dishes, proving that they do expect quite a lot of eat in business During this visit, most of the customers were indeed getting takeout, but one Lao American woman brought her boyfriend in to share the wonders of the cuisine.

The menu seems limited, with two boards flanking the open window to the kitchen, but each time you return you will find that there is more on offer by snooping around the counter and asking. Try dishes like khao piak sen, a sort of chicken noodle soup that can only be found in Laos, usually at restaurants who set up for morning eaters. Or maybe the Lao-style beef jerky? There is nothing else like it in the world.


An obvious point of entry into the restaurant is the laab ($10, above), available in chicken, fish, shrimp ($6 extra) and the beef shown here. Sometimes a half portion could be useful because ten dollars gets you this heaping mound. Add in what they call a "small" portion of sticky rice, and you can almost feed three people.

This Lao-style laab is proper in every way, first and foremost by using a combination of mixed meats. Some restaurants that cater to western customers will only use the lean parts in a dish like this, but here they make it with all the insides that should be there to make it right. With mint leaves on top and full of galangal, onions, and kaffir lime, the dish is so crisp and refreshing and almost perfect. Ask for it as spicy as you can handle.


Checking out some of the packaged goods on shelves or in the refrigerator always seems to lead to finding something new to enjoy here or take home. One item they always seem to have (above) are what you commonly see in night markets over a charcoal grill. These eggs are not simply cooked over a flame though, this is just the last step. First the hole will be punched out of many shells, the contents emptied out and mixed with seasonings like salt, white pepper, and chives.

This mixture will be reinserted into the shells and then steamed to cook thoroughly. The grill gives the finished product the smoky flavor it is known for. It is like eating scrambled eggs that are ten times better than scrambled eggs. What will be on offer during the next visit? Already looking forward to it!


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SAN DIEGO California
110 47th Street

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