On Saturday, while it was 30°C where I live, I decided to venture out towards the west where the temperature was hitting 33°C. Why would I do that? For the love of food of course. After an intense night of drinking with friends, I built up enough strength to jump into the car and drive to Fairfield to have lunch.
I have been visiting Lao Village since my high school days (at least 8 years ago). I have always loved this place. I don’t know how I found out about it, but it has been one of my favourite restaurants since forever. Although the interior looks a little bit run down and old, the food and the friendliness of the staff makes up for it. I have seen the price of the dishes go up slowly, but the prices are still quite reasonable in this day and age.
I always seem to order the same dishes every time I visit. I like to order what I know I will absolutely enjoy. Without further ado, here comes the food.
Paw Paw Salad Lao Style with Crab and Anchovies $8.00
The crunchiness of the raw paw paw gives this dish some texture. It absorbs the saltiness from the anchovies and sauce. The paw paw entangles some dried shrimp, and tomato to create a very pleasant salad.
BBQ Marinated Ox Tongue $8.00
This is where my love for ox tongue began. The ox tongue is cooked to perfection, moist with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Squid Salad $9.00
Every time I go to Lao Village, I ALWAYS order this dish. The squid is so soft and it is drenched in a tangy fish sauce. I’m not a fan of onion so usually by the end, only the onions are left on the plate, but my mum swears they taste delicious.
Lao Pork Sausage and Dried Beef (Lao Beef Jerky) $8.00
You can normally get these two separately at $8.00 a pop, or you can choose to sample these on the same dish, they just give you half and half.
The Lao Pork Sausage is quite moist and flavourful. I would have preferred it to be a little bit more cooked as the inside had a kind of raw meat texture. Cooking it more would’ve created a contrast between the crunchy outside and the soft filling.
The Dried Beef (Lao Beef Jerky) is my least favourite dish. I find the beef quite dry (I know it’s jerky, but the ones they sell in Cabramatta are so moist) and quite fatty.
A seemingly innocent egg..
..but it is in actual fact a Balut, a Baby Duck Egg $2.50
Balut, for readers who don’t know, is a fertilized duck egg with a nearly developed embryo inside. This means that yes, there may be some bones or if you’re lucky, maybe even some feathers. I cringe at the thought of eating this, but my mum seems to enjoy it.
Sticky Rice $2.50
It is served in a basket made out of bamboo. The sticky rice is served this way as it is a Laotian tradition. The correct way to eat this: you take a ball of this sticky rice and soak up all the sauce from the Paw Paw Salad and the Squid Salad. Alternatively, you just eat it like you would with normal steamed rice.
I absolutely adore this restaurant. It has been open for 27 years and I hope it will continue to operate for many years to come. It makes driving 45 minutes out west very much worth it. There is another Lao restaurant that is open next door. I have tried it once, but have made up my mind that Lao Village is best Lao restaurant for me.
Happy nom nom nom-ing!
1-3 Anzac Avenue
Fairfield NSW 2165
T: (02) 9728 7136