Culture Restaurants

Eat With Your Hands At This Restaurant’s Bountiful ‘Lao Table’ Feast

In Laos and nearby northeastern Thailand, the traditional way of eating dinner was to serve everything on a communal platform that everyone sat around. Baskets of sticky rice would be passed, and everyone would dig in with their hands to the bounty before them.

You won’t find this format very often in the United States, but one Thai chef has brought it into his restaurant to help inspire that sense of community around eating.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Farmhouse Kitchen (@thaifarmhouse) on

Chef Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang, who runs Bib Gourmand-acclaimed Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine, has begun serving a “Lao Table” at his restaurant for those who want to partake in this utensil-free feast. Feeding at least eight people, the dishes served are seasonal, based on what’s locally available, and all authentic to Saengsawang’s northern Thai roots.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by San Francisco Foodie (@cyneats) on

That means everything from fresh shrimp and whole grilled chickens to warming soups and refreshing salads can be found on the Lao Table. It’s up to you and your squad to decide on how to divvy up the festive feast in front of you after that.

Saengsawang’s recreation of the food he grew up with makes for an unforgettable and memorable dining experience worth gearing up a crew for. Perhaps it’ll even inspire everyone to get together and do more communal activities, who knows?

Lao Table meals can now be reserved at Farmhouse Kitchen all year long at their three locations in Portland, San Francisco, and Oakland. If you’re going to partake in this feast, it’s best to call the restaurant a day or two in advance to secure a reservation.

All featured media in this post courtesy of @cyneats on Instagram.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.