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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