We had been in France for almost two weeks already. All the food so far we have eaten in France have been exceptional. No complaints what-so-ever. BUT, I needed rice. Sundays is a good time to go to the 13th arrondissement (China Town), where all the really cheap & yummy Laotian, Thai & Vietnamese restaurants are concentrated in one location.
So; we drove out to the 13th to eat at one of the best Laotian/ Vietnamese restaurants. Lao Lane Xang 2. What is strange is that Lao Xang 1 is across the street. Both restaurants serve the same food. If one restaurant is too full; they shift some of the people waiting for a table to the other and visa-versa.
The starter that we shared was Bánh Cuốn (literally, steamed 'rolled cake'). The rice flour skin was thin enough; a good amount of ground pork and minced wood ear mushrooms stuffing. The texture was good but the dish was too bland. They forgot to spice the stuffing. Even the nước chấm was not enough and at the same time, the sauce was too sweet.
My friends main dish was Phad Ka Pow Nua. This dish was stir fried beef with fresh chilies & basil with a fried egg on the side. The beef was tender and the chilies, basil and other herbs & spices added a complex yet balanced kaleidoscope of flavours.
My main dish was Bún Thịt Nướng. While studying in Paris & San Francisco this was basically my meal for lunch & dinner. That was all I could afford but at the same time for the money; I got a hearty, healthy and delicious bowl of goodness in every sense. The dish had thin rice noodles in the bottom of the bowl; which is covered with fresh lettuce & bean sprouts, which is covered with stir fried beef sprinkled with crushed peanuts and then topped off with chả giò. The dish is suppose to be the balance of hot & cold, soft & crispy and fresh & cooked. After you pour over the nước mắm sauce; then there is another element of sweet & spicy. Amazing simple dish.
Overall; Lao Lane Xang 2 has very good food at good prices, the food comes out amazingly quick for a big restaurant that is always full and the service is very efficient. Not a bad place at all for the a good & affordable lunch in China town.
The only complaint I have about our lunch are the damn police. We got a 35 euro parking ticket. What was supposed to be a cheap lunch turned out to be a very expensive lunch. However; the parking ticket was unfair. We parked (like hundreds of other cars) on a street that had signs 'No parking due to construction of the road'. OK; it was Sunday and we all know that no public works will be done on Sundays in France. So; we, like hundreds of other people thought it was ok to park there. OH boy were we wrong. We just got the parking ticket; if we had arrived at the car about 10 minutes earlier, we could have avoided the ticket. Oh well, we paid for the ticket and learned from it.
After lunch; we went to have a coffee in the 6th arrondissement. The café was Le café de l'Odéon. It is situated in front of Le Théâtre de l'Odéon. The service was very slow but the atmosphere was very nice.
The beautiful Théâtre de l'Odéon in the background.
102, avenue d'Ivry, Paris (XIIIe)
Ouvert de midi à 15 heures et de 19 à 23 heures
Fermé le mercredi
Café de l’Odéon
Place de l’Odéon 75006