Toronto is obsessed with a Lao restaurant hidden inside an ice cream shop

Have you ever tasted Laotian cuisine? In Toronto’s culturally diverse culinary scene, it’s hard to think of cuisines that aren’t represented in the city.

From Italian food to Tibetan, it seems like everything is pretty easy to find. However, when it comes to Lao food, the choices are pretty slim.

Tucked inside an ice cream shop is Lao Food Co., a Lao restaurant that is leading the way in Lao cuisine in Toronto.

Open for take-out on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, it is run by a chef who works full time all week, running his restaurant out of pure passion.

Daovy Chanthalansy, owner and sole chef of Lao Food Co. and Lao Supper Club, cooks traditional Lao dishes inspired by his parents like pork belly sausages, mango coconut sticky rice and dumplings hand rolled.

Many items are similar to Thai dishes, but Lao offerings are often overlooked.

“I want to have distinctive elements for Lao cuisine. I know that some cuisines overlap with Thai cuisine, and I want people to know why. There is a reason why people say ‘northern Thai food’ or ‘northeastern Thai food’ – there is a story behind these words. The northern provinces of Thailand once belonged to Laos,” says Chanthalansy.

By cooking Lao dishes, Chanthalansy hopes to spread more knowledge and awareness about a typically underrepresented and overlooked cuisine. He works full time throughout the week just so he can keep running his business.

“I don’t want people to think I’m really getting started and taking advantage and getting media attention. I don’t make enough food to do that. I work my nine-to-five job just so that I can put this – it’s about showing awareness.

Lao Food Co. is open Wednesday through Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. inside the Milkcow Cafe near Yonge and Eglinton. You can pre-order food at least 24 hours before your desired pick-up date.

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