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Until recently, a restaurant billing itself as straight-up Laotian was a rarity in Oakland — most are Lao-Thai. Lao Taé, meaning “real Lao,” is one of the first restaurants in Oakland to bill itself solely as a Laotian restaurant, though the menu isn’t entirely Lao. The nam khao, or rice ball salad, stands up to some of the best in Oakland, with crisp deep-fried rice and house-made fermented pork. There are some unusual dishes, too, like corn fritters with a hint of coconut milk and red curry, and pad mee Lao, a sweet stir-fried noodle dish made with fresh tamarind, caramelized sugar, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. Other menu offerings lean more Thai, like the crab fried rice, an excellent version made with plenty of crab meat and lots of egg. For dessert, try the mango sticky rice, with the mango slices artfully arranged into a rosette atop warm purple sticky rice.

— Katherine Hamilton

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Price: $$$

Payment Type: Cash, All Major Credit Cards

Hours: Mon.-Sun. 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

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