One dining experience which is incredibly popular within the Lao community but not so well known amongst the expat community is Sin Daat (literally ‘seared meat’) or Lao Barbecue as it is called in English. The concept seems be an offshoot of Bulgogi, or Korean Barbeque, which has developed into its own cuisine using many Lao elements.
Usually customers would sit around a special table with a large hole in the centre. A waiter will bring a bucket of coals and place it snugly into the hole. Next comes a flat, round metal hotplate which covers the bucket of coals. Dishes of sliced meat, vegetables an an egg are brought to the table and the customers cook their meal themselves using animal fat placed at the crown of the hotplate in order to grease it.
There are plenty of Lao BBQ restaurants to choose from in Vientiane and everyone tends to have their favourite. Mine is most certainly Poysian Sin Daad, named after the Poysian, or ‘crown of thorns’ flower which features on all the restaurant’s crockery. The restaurant is more or less the front yard of a massive private home, but the tables are set within a well-kept garden lit up with fairy lights that lend the place a nice outdoor ambiance. The staff are well-trained and attentive (they even know to ask if foreigners would like ice in their beer) and the quality and cut of the meat, in my opinion, beats any other BBQ restaurant in Vientiane.
Poysian Sin Daat is located on Asean (T2) Road in Nongsanokham Village, Vientiane. Ph: +856-21 2426 71.
Below is a video showing sin daat being cooked.