Discover a hidden treasure trove of Laotian flavours at Soy Soi’s Laos Food Festival
Started only about 6 months ago, Soy Soi has quickly become a firm favourite among the residents of Chennai. With their charming ambiance, authentic Asian cuisine and friendly staff, it’s almost impossible to get a table for dinner without making a prior reservation! When we heard about their Laos Food Festival, we knew we had to check it out.
Speaking to the Chef, he explained to us that Laos, a South East Asian country, is known for its fiery and fragrant food. Traditionally eaten by hand, the Laos cuisine owes its distinctive taste to lemongrass, chillies, coriander leaves and lime juice. For many years, Laos food has been one of the strongest influencers of Thai cuisine though it has never been acknowledged. Through the Laos Food Festival, Soy Soi hopes to introduce Chennai to the unexplored culinary genius of Laos.
Once seated, we were served three appetizers and two salads. First up was the Crispy Rice Crackers. Traditionally called Khao Tung Na Tang, this dish comprised of puffed rice crackers served with beetroot and carrot chips, and two delicious dips.
The delicious Chicken Larb Fritters were served next. Described as a ‘fried salad’ of sorts, this dish consisted of fried fritters of minced chicken served with a sauce made with cucumbers, peanuts and chillies. The sauce was the perfect combination of spicy and sweet and complimented the dish beautifully.
Minced Meat in Lemon Grass, or Sai Takrai as it is traditionally called, was the third appetiser. This visually appealing dish was made with fried herb marinated minced meat served in a lemongrass stem. Tangy and delicious, the extra squeeze of lemon added just the right amount of zing to this dish.
Moving on to the salads, we tried their Vientianne Cucumber Salad (traditionally called Tum Mak Thang) and Laos Rice Salad with Chicken (traditionally known as Nam Khao). Light, fresh and perfectly spiced, the Vientianne Cucumber Salad was devoured within minutes. A signature Laotian dish, the Laos Rice Salad was a delicious amalgamation of crispy rice and minced Chicken.
For the main course, we opted for Grilled White Sticky Rice and a side of Prawns with Cucumber in Oyster Sauce. Served in a wicker basket the Sticky Rice paired perfectly with the creamy oyster sauce. Subtle yet flavourful, the Prawns with Cucumber in Oyster Sauce, traditionally called Khua Mak Taeng Sai Het, was one of our favourite dishes.
With bellies slowly filling up, we moved on to the last few dishes of the day. As the Red Curried Vermicelli Noodles (traditionally known as Khao Poon) was bought to our table, we couldn’t help but drool! Aromatic and vibrant, this dish comprised of fermented rice vermicelli in a red curry and coconut broth.
The other noodle dish we tried was the Noodle in Coconut Curry Broth. Traditionally called Khao Soi Lao, this dish could almost be described as the Laotian equivalent to Spaghetti Bolognese. Delicious egg noodles served in clear broth and topped with a minced meat sauce, we loved every bite.
No meal is complete without dessert, and to end ours we chose Banana Fritters and Chilled Tapioca Pearls and Muskmelon. Banana Fritters, traditionally called Guay Thod, comprised of coconut and sesame fried banana fried with honey and served with tender coconut ice cream. The salty-sweet flavours of the fritters paired with cold tender coconut ice cream just about sent us into a food coma. Chilled Tapioca Pearls and Muskmelon, traditionally called Nahm Wahn Sakoo, was a heavenly concoction of chilled sweetened coconut milk and tapioca pearls served with muskmelon and crushed ice. Needless to say, it was amazing.
All in all, our meal at Soy Soi took us on a gastronomical Laotian adventure, and we definitely recommend you check it out!
The Laos Food Festival is on from Friday, 14th September to Sunday, 23rd September.