King Market Lao-Thai Cafe
You know you’ve hit the jackpot when your son’s friend recommends a restaurant that his Thai grandmother says is the most authentic Thai food in Nashville. Double points that it’s a combination Asian grocery/jewelry store/restaurant in a strip mall on Antioch Pike with a Dollar General next door.
King Market is a full service Asian grocery with oodles of different types of noodles, beautiful Asian vegetables and a lot of exotic things that I find intoxicating to at least consider. I’m heavily weighing my options with chicken feet.
And off to the side is a small, maybe 12 table, restaurant with a menu that covers Southeast Asia from curries to stir-fried noodle dishes to spicy salads and soups. So here’s what we had:
We started out with the fried squid served with a sweet dipping sauce. Perfectly cooked squid, super crunchy flavorful breading and a nice counterpoint with the sweet sauce. I was only going to eat a couple pieces but I fought Noah and King Daddy for the last crispy bit.
King Daddy got the beef Pho with rice noodles, meatballs, tendon and green onions. He pronounced it the best he’s ever had. I did not actually figure out what the tendon was, but it was all tender and profoundly flavored so I’m all about the tendon now.
Noah got the Laab (which is also spelled as Larb on some Thai menus). Turns out it’s also one of the national dishes of Laos. It’s spicy chicken, beef or pork with chile peppers and spices and you eat it wrapped in lettuce leaves. They serve it with additional Thai chiles, which will blow the top of your head off. Noah lapped those things up. Me, not so much.
And I got the Pad See Ew, which is a stir-fried noodle dish with chicken, egg and Chinese broccoli. I love this stuff. It’s like the Thai version of Italian comfort food.
So the major point of conversation as we were ordering was whether any of us had the cojones to try the fried intestine, also a very popular dish from Laos. At the end of the day, none of us did but Noah came very close. We’ll force him to order it next time and just see what’s up with that.
The great thing about living in Nashville right now is there is so much international cuisine to try. It may be a small world, but our planet in Nashville is getting bigger by the day.