>> LaoMazing Eats & Nok's Kitchen | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

LaoMazing Eats & Nok's Kitchen

Both vendors' stand at the 2022 Tet Festival

📍 Catering and pop-up events, please check with vendors for locations.

After following both LaoMazing Eats and Nok's Kitchen on Instagram for a while and being jealous whenever they posted large catering orders, it seemed like the stars aligned when they announced a partnership for a stand at the 2022 Tet Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center. As one of the first vendors in the food row, their large dual banner above the stand was visible even from the parking lot and loomed large as bright eyed potential customers emerged onto the grounds hungry.

The Orange County-based businesses made a special combined menu for the event, and you could select options from one or the other, or both as happened on Sunday. Between the two chefs, a nice broad base of Lao cuisine was offered and anyone that wanted to stray from the Vietnamese theme of the day was rewarded with some delicious eating.

Four dishes together

Weirdly most of the other vendors at the event were not offering Vietnamese food. There was a Cococane knockoff that consistently had the longest lines, a seafood option that also had cafe sua da, and two really tasty looking traditional vendors, but the rest was a combination of things that looked made for social media and viral videos.

On the other side of the grounds there was some even heartier devouring when one of several pho eating contests was taking place. Unfortunately sign-ups for this were closed by the time they were noticed.

Beef larb

From LaoMazing Eats, two dishes were ordered and thoroughly enjoyed, both consisting of ingredients that were much fresher than you might expect being served at the fairgrounds. While not containing any offal unfortunately, the beef larb ($15, above) was delicious and spicy nonetheless, using chewy just grilled cuts of meat and fresh herbs.

This was complemented well with the nam kao ($15, below), a less spicy dish of rice balls and sour fermented pork sausage. You can break off pieces of the roasted chilies if you want more fire, but these were left alone since the larb and the papaya salad from Nok's were so spicy.

Nam kao

Lao sausages with sticky rice and sauces

No matter where or when you find Nok's Kitchen, it seems that their famous lao sausages must be part of an order. The combo #1 ($15, above) was a good way to try them most traditionally, with a good-sized ball of sticky rice to eat them with. They also gave a couple sauces to add spice and fermented paste tastes to your meal as desired.

Seeing and hearing fresh papaya salad ($12, below) being made, it was impossible not to order this as well. Nok's cuts up the Vietnamese pork meatballs into their version, which looks and tastes more like Thai som tum than Lao tum mak hoong. Even this "medium" order was leveled up to an extreme level, so the crunchy pork rinds and sticky rice from the other dish were well appreciated.

Papaya salad with meatloaf


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