The Spice Is Right Brings the Heat to Bite of Las Vegas

The food truck specializes in authentic Laotian cuisine

September 4, 2019

Courtesy of The Spice is Right Facebook

By Zoneil Maharaj

Bite of Las Vegas
Your favorite dishes at Thai restaurants might not be from Thailand at all. Several staples of Thai cuisine — including papaya salad, drunken noodles (pad kee mao) and larb — can be traced to its eastern neighbor, Laos, which has a strong influence in Northern Thai cuisine. If you’ve eaten at restaurants that specialize in food from that region, such as Lotus of Siam or Weera Thai, you’ve likely had a Lao dish. 

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However, Lao food is less popular “just because we’re a smaller country,” Cody Thakhin says. The Las Vegas native is hoping to change that with his The Spice Is Right truck, which celebrates the cuisine of his heritage. 

Thakhin will bring the bold, aromatic flavors of Laos to Bite of Las Vegas on September 14 at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. But fair warning: don’t ask for “level 5” heat unless you know what you’re getting into.

“Lao food is a lot sweeter, a lot saltier, and a lot spicier,” Thakhin says. Yes, you read that right. 

A Thai dish with a spice level of 5 would only be a 3 in Lao cuisine, Thakhin says. Order accordingly.

Operating for two years, The Spice Is Right features traditional dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients. Their papaya salad is a summertime fan favorite, made with a citrusy fermented fish sauce. It’s more pungent than the Thai variety, but also sweeter. 

Khao poon, a coconut noodle soup, and lemongrass pork sausage, are also must-try dishes. For something more familiar, The Spice Is Right also features popular Thai crossovers like drunken noodles and larb, along with curry-marinated skewers. 

“I know we’re similar to Thai food, but I hope people can get a little taste of Laos,” Thakhin says.

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