By Will Fairless
Thai and Lao Cuisine, located at 203 Opelika Road Suite C, is a new Thai and Lao restaurant that offers delicious food (takeout or in store) and makes its patrons feel like family.
Vone Silavanh, the owner of Thai and Lao Cuisine, has always had an affinity for cooking, something she got from her mother.
“My mom taught me how to cook,” Silavanh said. “When I worked in a factory, I cooked for my coworkers, and they asked, ‘Why don’t you open up a restaurant? Your recipes are so good.'” Apparently, that was pretty good advice.
Shortly after, she started operating a food truck in Iowa. When her family encouraged her to come to East Alabama, Thai and Lao Cuisine was born. “They said, ‘There’s not that many Laos and Thai restaurants here,'” she said.
Service Like You’re Family
The customers of Thai and Lao are likely to feel like family. That’s not only because of the great service, but because the staff makes it a point to encourage that feeling. And they lead by example, as Silavanh’s mother and two sons all work in the restaurant.
“Anything you want, we’ll do for you,” Silavanh said. “We want to please [customers] as much as we can. Good food, hot food, food that they know is really good.”
Want the kitchen to remake a dish with less spice? Prefer to eat dessert before your dinner? Want to combine sticky rice and pad Thai? The staff at Thai and Lao cuisine can do it for you.
“I want people to feel like family,” Silavanh said. “They feel like family or very close friends. ‘I can bring my kids here, I can throw a party, I can reserve a place for just two.’ They can trust us and ask, ‘What is this? What is that?'”
Great Thai and Lao Menu
Those questions might be especially relevant for Auburn residents who’ve never had this particular brand of Asian cuisine. In the unlikely chance that you can’t find anyone to help you decipher the Thai and Lao menu, Silavanh makes the following recommendations:
What is her favorite thing on the menu? “My favorite is pho, like noodle soup, or Pad Thai.”
Which is the most popular dish? “Pad Thai or fried rice or Pad Kee Mow is our most popular dish.” Pad Kee Mow, a.k.a. drunken noodles, is described on the menu as stir-fried fresh flat rice noodles with garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, onion and basil.
What do I have to try if I’m never allowed to come back? “I would say the lao sausage with sticky rice. Both of those are finger foods, but together they make a meal.”
Before or after your meal, head to the bar in Thai and Lao for a drink or two.