Laotian cuisine doesn’t get its due in my book, just as the country is underrated as a tourism destination. Some of the best eating I’ve had in my travels has been in Laos, a country wedged among Myanmar, Vietnam,Thailand, China and Cambodia. Laotian food is often compared with Thai , but to me it’s more complex in flavor— a blend of salty, sour, sweet, herbaceous, fermented and most importantly spicy and more like Vietnamese cuisine. I attribute this to its 60 years of history as a French protectorate. Now you can see for yourself what Laotian food in Miami is like thanks to the new addition to The Citadel — Lil’ Laos. The food is delicious and qualifies as cheap eats too!
It’s definitely a cuisine made for sharing to be able to try all of the different taste sensations. Whatever you do, get the crispy rice ($12.00) and accompany it with their krog muu pork sausage ($8.00). The rice is made with chunks of crispy coconut rice mixed in with Lao spam, dried chilies, and peanuts. My friends and I also had the vegetable massaman curry with sticky rice ($13.00), sliced steak Laab and the spicy papaya salad ($10). We all agreed the food was uniformly delicious. In fact, after dinner I was plotting my return visit to try the lemongrass chicken ($8.00), shrimp glass noodles wth ground pork ($12.00) and the mushroom fritter ($8.00).
Lil’ Laos is a collaborative partnership between Sakhone Sayarath and Curtis Rhodes. Born in Laos and raised in a refugee camp for 8 years, Sakhone brings the memories of her childhood and mom’s homemade cooking to life with Laotian food in Miami. She adds her own style, while staying true to her roots. Curtis was the Executive Chef of Cafe Roval in Miami for the past three years. Born and raised in Hawaii, with an Asian Cuisine background, Chef Curtis has also worked at The River Oyster Bar in Brickell and Oak Tavern in the Design District.
Lil’ Laos is in The Citadel food hall, 8300 N.E 2nd Avenue, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 10 p.m. They also offer takeout. Here’s a link to the menu and prices. A welcome addition to the food hall is server service at the tables for drinks. And while you’re there, you should try new addition, the pasta at Borti Pasta Bar. We had the ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta and bruschetta with mushrooms, both delicious.
In case you want to know more about destination The Citadel, read here: