my dad is buried at the greenwood memorial park down in south san diego. i visit him from time to time throughout the year and every time i go, i always make a pit stop at the mom and pop shop down the street: bane phonkeo’s (110 47th st, 92102). this hole in the wall place sells legit laotian/thai food. their sien hang, or beef jerky, is fried to crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside perfection. there is so much flavor packed into one strip of meat. their papaya salad with a spicy level of medium is so delectable and pairs really well with white sticky rice. and the beef larb, medium spicy level as well, definitely hits the spot. it’s a little bit of crunchy, a little bit of sour, and a little bit of spicy all rolled into minced beef.
this. this is comfort food to me. i have fond memories of my mother cutting up strips of beef, baking it in the oven, which made the whole apartment smell amazing, and letting the meat out to dry in the sun for days.. then the waking up to the smell of sticky rice cooking in the bamboo steamer and realizing that the sien hang was ready to be eaten. it is the laborious act of love in which my mom made sien hang for us that this mom and pop shop brings me back to my childhood :]