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Restaurant’s rice noodle and rooster soup rules the roost

A plethora of noodle soups await diners at roadside stalls and high-end restaurants in every corner of Vientiane and across Laos, offering something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
One of the most popular dishes in Laos is rice noodle soup with meat or fish, known as khao piek. The popularity of this dish prompted Mr Kaivithoun Chanthavisack, aka Bee to family and friends, to open the Khao Piek Kai Aok restaurant.
“After I graduated from the National University of Laos in 2010, I got a job with the government, and then I joined my father-in-law’s company, which required me to travel across the country,” Bee said.
During his travels, Bee sampled many types of khao piek from the north to the south of the country.

Khao piek kai aok (rice noodles with rooster soup).
--Photo from Facebook: Khao Piek Kai Aok

“After working with the company for a few years, I had the urge to start my own business. I chose something that I love and opened a restaurant, which was the best choice for me at the time,” he said.
“There are many khao piek restaurants in Vientiane, so I had to think twice about what type of soup I should sell to attract diners,” he added.
Bee soon zeroed in on khao piek kai aok or rice noodles with rooster soup because few restaurants in Vientiane served this variety. He tested his own recipe on his family and friends and received good feedback.
He opened the restaurant last year, banking on his recipe, which uses specially selected roosters for the soup.
“Fresh rooster is the main ingredient, which makes our khao piek different from others. The mature roosters make the soup naturally sweet and give it a lovely aroma after the meat has been boiled for hours with herbs and seasoning,” he explained.
Khao piek is served with rooster meat, sliced spring onions, crispy shallot or garlic, bean sprouts and seasonings such as chilli paste, lime and fish sauce. The meat is separated from the bone to make it easy for the customer to eat. Some parts such as feet, wings, the neck and entrails are sold as a separate dish.
Bee orders 60 to 70 roosters every day to make the soup while the noodles are made from a special recipe devised by his aunt.
The restaurant quickly became popular through word-of-mouth and Bee hired 10 people to help. Diners also flock in for another speciality - rooster kidney.
“But the number of kidneys is limited and it’s always first come, first served,” Bee said.
The restaurant also offers juices made from passionfruit, oranges and mor noi as well as coffee and tea.
Khao Piek Kai Aok restaurant, located in Phonthan village, Sisattanak district, is open from Monday to Saturday between 7am and 3pm. It can accommodate up to 110 people.
The price of the soup ranges from 20,000 kip for a small bowl to 25,000 kip for a big bowl. The prices increase if a customer asks for more rooster meat.
Bee told Vientiane Times he can sell up to 500 bowls of soup a day on weekdays and about 400 bowls on Saturday, which earns him a profit of up to 70 million kip a month.
He plans to open another restaurant in Wattai village, Sikhottabong district, and to launch his own drinking water brand soon.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 25, 2017)

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