Word of Mouth

Stick to the sticky rice (or wings) at Woody's Wings n Things

After I put out my call for Laotian food recommendations, a number of readers suggested that I head to Woody's Wings n Things, a dark, sparsely-decorated strip-mall joint in Westminser that serves, yes, chicken wings -- in addition to a long list of fare with roots in the Indochina peninsula.

I'd been to Woody's before, on a hunt for Cambodian food; most of the staff hails from Cambodia. After maneuvering through the massive menu -- a binder full of glossy pictures with basic descriptions of dishes with their origins in Thailand, Vietnam and China, as well as Cambodia -- I'd tried the squid and lemongrass, tripe and a spicy soup. I wasn't enamored of any of them; it seemed they'd been adjusted for someone's idea of the American palate -- and it wasn't an improvement.

I hoped the Laotian cuisine might be better, and it was. The sticky rice was just what I'd been craving: fluffy but so glued together that I could pull off clumps and eat them, almost as if the rice were bread dough. The green papaya salad, though not uniquely Laotian, was refreshing and spicy, if a little fishy.

Still, the food was a far cry from what I had in Laos. Since it's easier to get to Westminster than Southeast Asia, I might stop in again to sample the hot pot or one of a handful of fried rice dishes -- but I'm still on the hunt for great Laotian food in metro Denver.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk