So yesterday, I went to a restaurant that I’ve been dying to go to for the last three years. It is Lao place by the name of, Thip Khao, and needless to say the food tasted magical. I started off with an order of Hu Muu Todd (deep fried pig ear) coated in tamarind salt (think sour/salty) and a fermented chili-fish sauce. For reference, pig ears taste meaty and gelatinous like chicharron, but with more collagen. I can not drink as I am not yet 21, but if I could, Hu Muu Todd would pair very nicely with beer, more specifically, Saison and Marzen. Next, I ordered, Tam Senh Pho Phet Phet, an extremely spicy rice noodle salad made with bird’s eye chili, padeak, shellfish paste, shrimp, green bean, eggplant, bean sprouts, and garlic. To say that it is extremely spicy is an understatement, the dish is burn your face off hot. That being said, it was sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and all kinds of delicious. Lastly, I was craving something herbal to stimulate the senses that were just erased after consuming the Tam Senh Pho Phet Phet. Naturally, I went with the Snakehead Fish Laab, a minced salad with toasted rice & chili, scallion, lemongrass, galangal, cilantro, mint, rau ram, served on a banana leaf with raw radish, cucumber, and purple sticky rice. As I put the first bite in my mouth, my senses reignited immediately. The galangal, lemongrass, mint, and chili exposed my palate to a symphony of flavors, it was sublime. Afterwards, I was lucky enough to talk to the head chef and owner, Bobby Pradachith. He was warm, gracious, humble, and sharp. Simply put, I was just as impressed with chef as a person as I was with his food. The whole experience validated my decision to trek to the other end of D.C. and eat at this spectacular restaurant that I had heard so much about.