One of the things I love about the North End is that great deals can be found everywhere. One example is the Lao Thai restaurant at 763 Selkirk Ave.
I’ve eaten there a few times, trying different meals each visit. The portions they serve are quite large and each time I’ve left with an extra meal for the next day.
Most meals give you the option of chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. So, from the many choices on the menu, there are many variations of each dish.
I have an old friend who has lived on the West Coast for many years, who loves to cook and loves good food. When he visited in July, I invited him to the restaurant.
When we arrived, it was closed. I looked in the window and the owner, Khamlaa Boonthajit, was inside. She came to the door and said they were closed on the weekend and that she was doing some gardening in the back yard (cultivating herbs that she uses in some of the meals).
I told her I wanted to treat a friend from out of town to dinner. Without hesitating she said to come on in.
Well, in no time at all, she prepared our meals with appetizers. My friend was very impressed and said it was the best Pad Thai he had ever tried.
I recently went back there for a meal.
Khamlaa told me that after buying the building in 1999, she opened up a tailor shop.
Then in 2002, she turned it into a grocery store, which her son Somkid operated while she opened a restaurant in Steinbach.
In early 2003, she decided to close the grocery store and move the restaurant into the building on Selkirk Ave. She told me that everything on the menu are traditional dishes from her home country of Laos.
After eating five spring rolls and half a plate of Lao Pad Thai, I was absolutely stuffed (and very satisfied), and once again had another meal for the next day.
I ordered a ginger tea, but she asked if I would like to try something else the she just received from Laos, Thai Tea.
She explained that she “loves it” and wanted to start serving it in the restaurant. I agreed to be her guinea pig.
I was quite surprised to see that it was in a large glass with ice and cream…mmmm…refreshing, especially on such a hot day.
She asked if I wanted to try it how she liked it (with lime and no cream). She brought me a glass. It too was very nice.
Khamlaa, her son and a cook (who she trained up), run the restaurant here and she recently opened another Lao Thai restaurant (with the same recipes and menu) in Toronto, which is run by her daughter.
It’s nice to know the next time I visit my sister in Toronto, I’ll be able to take her to one of my favourite Winnipeg restaurants.
This story originally appeared in the Aug. 9, 2017 edition of The Times published by Canstar Community News. (With added photos for CNC: photos 1, 3, and 4)