It’s no secret that DC’s Columbia Heights is one of the centers of the city’s growing food scene. Neighborhood eatery Thip Khao, a hip Laotian spot that was crowned as one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants of 2015, shows us exactly why with its deliciously spicy fare. Here’s what you need to get during your visit.

Khao Siin

Start things out with a dish that’ll blend together one familiar ingredient (beef jerky) with some more unexpected accompaniments, including a fermented chili-fish sauce and pickled cucumber and radish. This entree comes paired with coconut sticky rice that provides a sweet, cooling note.

Pak Nam

If you’ve been meaning to book that summer vacation, try something coastal that evokes the banks of the stunning Mekong River. Our pick has to be the pak nam salad, which combines crispy watercress and tofu with tamarind lychee sauce, dried shrimp, mango, and cashew for a spicy, crunchy delight.

Chuenh Nok

If you’re looking for something to order for the table, you can’t go wrong with the fried quail. The delicious, delicate meat is flavored with ginger and black pepper for a delicious treat perfect for sharing.

Gaeng Orm Kuang Nai

Thip Khao offers two menus: the regular one for people looking to dip their toes into Laotian cuisine and a “jungle” one for more daring eaters. One of our favorite picks from the second menu has to be the gaeng orm kuang nai, a beef tripe curry stew with green finger pepper, mustard leaf, green bean, dill and wood-ear mushrooms. The dish guarantees an explosion of flavor and spice that’ll have your head spinning (plus, it happens to be gluten- and soy- free!)

Jup Jup

You’ll need something to help you cool off as you eat all that spice, so why not go for a delicious cocktail? This particular concoction blends together dry red wine, apple cider, and orange for a boozy, fruity treat.

Thip Khao
3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
(202) 387-5426