Chef Seng Luangrath doesn’t make concessions when it comes to authentic cooking, and that’s precisely why she’s the best. Originally from Laos, Seng and her family spent two years living in refugee camps in Thailand during the Vietnam war, where she began learning to cook from other women in the camp. Seng and her family relocated to San Francisco, then later DC, but it wasn’t until several stints catering for local businesses that Seng began exploring the possibility of starting her own restaurant.
Acclaimed Thai-Laotian restaurant Padaek is the fruit of her labors. Tucked along the edge of Seven Corners Center, the pint-sized storefront boasts a bountiful array of traditional Thai and Laotian dishes. Be it lunch, buffet brunch, or dinner, Padaek is the ideal place to sit, socialize, and enjoy incredible food. Plus, Padaek does carry out and offers delivery via Doordash, so it’s never been easier to appreciate this local gem!
Padaek has been a regular go-to during the pandemic for my family and me. For one, it’s close and ordering for take-out couldn’t be easier. More important, though, their food is delicious and a family favorite! We all love spicy food, which is good when you order the Som Tum – the shredded green papaya salad with peanuts, tomatoes, and chili lime sauce. That spiciness is wonderfully offset by the Pad Thai, Thailand’s “national dish,” and the Pad Se Ew, which features tender rice noodles and broccoli in a sweet soy sauce. Another family favorite, from the Laotian side of the menu, is Larb Moo, made with minced pork, kaffir lime, shallots, garlic, cilantro, and mint. We’ve even tried to mimic larb moo ourselves, but it simply doesn’t compare!
Seng also owns the popular Thip Khao restaurant in DC and a Sen Khao, her Tysons-based catering company. Seng’s goal of sharing Laotian food with the greater DC area has been a raging success, and she couldn’t be happier: “Anything can happen. Anything is possible. I wake up every day and embrace that I’m truly living inside my dream.”
For the love of real estate and food…David