Champa Garden

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East Oakland is one of the areas in the Bay Area you can get good Lao food.  Champa Garden and Vientian Cafe (see post HERE) are probably two of the more popular Lao restaurants.  Champa Garden is even Michelin recommended.  Lao food is one of the foods that can make my mouth water just at the sound of it.  The multiple flavor combinations of spicy, sour, sweet, and tangy from South East Asian foods is unlike any other cuisine.  
Beerlao is one of the more popular beers in Laos and you can get it by the case at Champa Garden.  Its made with jasmine rice, hops, and yeast.
I recommend getting the sampler here because it has a couple of the popular dishes so you can get a taste without committing to the full dish.  From left: fried spring rolls, rice noodles, saigock (Lao sausage), and nam kaow(fried rice ball salad).  Everything in this sample is amazing.  The fried spring roll is lightly deep fried and with the sweet and sour sauce makes for a delicious bite.  The Lao sausage is juicy and flavorful.  The best thing on this sample is the nam kaow.  The nam kao is made up of crispy fried rice, preserved pork, green onions, peanuts, and lime juice.  Each bite has a little crisp from the rice, a crunch from the peanuts, and a little sourness from the lime juice.     
A plate of lettuce and fresh sprigs of mint are used to wrap the the nam kaow in.  The lettuce and mint leaves give each bite a fresh taste.
 The Lao style beef larp (larb) is made with minced beef, mint, onions, cilantro, and lime juice.  Although I asked for very spicy, which according to Lao standards should be a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10, it was probably somewhere around a 3.  Somewhat disappointing and I have to give points to Vientian Cafe for legit spiciness and sour flavors. 

Angel wings are stuffed chicken wings filled with minced pork, clear thin noodles, and mushrooms and then battered and fried.  I've had angel wings a couple times before this and the angel wings here are one of the better ones I've had.  The meat is tender and flavorful with a light batter for a little crunchy texture.  The sauce has a sweet and tangy taste that gives the dish complex flavors. 
Each of the three wings are cut in half.  You can see the minced meats and noodles surrounded by a thin layer of chicken meat.

Address:                 Champa Garden
                                2102 8th Ave.
                                Oakland, CA
Type:                       Laotian/Thai

Popular chomps:     angel wings
                                 nam kaow (rice ball salad)
                                 papaya salad (Lao style)
                                 beef larb (Lao style)
                                 Champa sampler
                                 Kaow soy (Lue's Noodle Soup)
                                 Lao sausage
                                 pair of quails

Chomp worthy:        angel wings
                                 nam kaow (rice ball salad)
                                 Champa sampler
                                  beef larb (Lao style)
                                  Lao sausage                       

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