Food and Food: Asia and Food: Edmonton22 Nov 2009 10:58 pm

Viphalay Laotian + Thai Restaurant
10724 – 95 Street, Edmonton
Open everyday, 11am – 9pm

I’m not sure if it is the colder weather or my parents talking about their annual winter move to southeast Asia, but I have been nuts for Thai and Laotian food lately. The flavours, spices and variety have been on my mind quite often. As as result, Mike and I have eaten at both Syphay and Viphalay in the past couple weeks. These are both restaurants that feature mixed menus of Thai and Laotian food.


Busy Friday night at Viphalay

The restaurant was busy on a Friday night at prime time, but we were still seated quickly as the waitress snatched a “reserved” sign off of a table for an obviously unfulfilled reservation. It was a bit chilly sitting next to the door though, as people were constantly filing in and out, picking up eat-out orders and coming in to dine.

We ordered some old favourites, like beef lahp salad and a hot red curry. Viphalay insists on serving sticky rice that is fresh, and so you must order it earlier in the day. That was a bit inconvenient, but I admire their dedication to fine foods. It’s the classic accompaniment to lahp, and makes it easy to make morsels of sticky rice and spicy-sour beef to pop into your mouth.

singha beer mug

Mike ordered a Singha beer, which came in an extremely authentic style: an icy mug. Sometimes in Thai beach bars you will get your frosty beer in a beer koozie, and in mall beer gardens, a tabletop keg with an ice core, but usually it’s the icy mug. This simple step made me incredibly happy.


Side condiments of crushed dried red peppers and fermented chili garlic.

I had an ulcer for many years and was unable to fully enjoy spicy foods (not to mention the fire in my tender mouth) when I lived overseas but am now starting to ramp up my ability to eat them. We got a hot red curry, with a side of pungent fermented chili and garlic…which I avoided. Mike enjoyed it, though.


The forgettable BBQ beef. “Don’t eat the flower,” requested/told the server.

The food came out quickly and was great. The only thing I would avoid was the BBQ beef. They were quite bland and I found the curious curls of meat a bit tough. I still couldn’t stop popping them in my mouth, though.


Condensed milk roti roll

To finish, I could not avoid the siren song of the street cart favourite, roti, for dessert. These carts are all over Thailand, selling a thin crispy crepe of sorts, both chewy and crispy, sweet and a touch salty. Although there are an incredible variety to get now, including Nutella, raisins, peanut butter and so on, the gold standard is a combo of honey and banana or just condensed milk and sugar. I had no idea there was a place in Edmonton selling this hard to find treat, but I will return when I get my next craving, for sure. They are normally served up flat on a paper plate, sliced into squares, but little was lost in Viphalay’s artsy presentation.

Viphalay is a wonderful restaurant, serving up genuine Southeast Asian cuisine and hospitality. It was all I could do at the end of the meal to not ask for the cheque in the standard Thai manner: “Check bin, ka.” I will most certainly return.

Fiery lahp gnua and red curry with chicken



Thai iced tea candies with the bill, in what looked like a mango wood bowl.

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