Chef Seng Luangrath, a Lao refugee responsible for the Southeast Asian cuisine’s emergence here in D.C., runs her respected group of chile-packed and fish sauce-slathered restaurants with her son, Bobby Pradachith. The team expands across Northern Virginia this spring when Paedek relocates to South Arlington and the original Paedek in Falls Church turns into a fast-casual eatery. Back in D.C., Hanumanh will reopen with a new name and menu.
And its essential eatery Thip Khao, widely considered the D.C. standard-bearer for Lao food since opening in 2014, will remain untouched in all its fiery papaya salad glory. Luangrath, who learned how to cook from neighbors and elders at a refugee camp in Thailand after her family fled Laos, continues to mentor rising chefs in D.C. through the Lao Food Movement she founded at Thip Khao.
Read on for the full scope of newly announced changes across its portfolio, along with AAPI Heritage Month dinners and events hosted by Luangrath.
Hanumanh is reopening as Baan Mae
Shaw’s 4-year-old cocktail and small plates bar Hanumanh, which had a brief hiatus this spring, reboots service in May with a brand-new name and menu focus. Billed as a “progressive Southeast Asian cousin” to its other restaurants, Baan Mae will kick off service with a tasting menu celebrating AAPI Heritage Month. Dates and times will be announced soon. 1604 7th Street NW
Padaek is relocating to South Arlington
Padaek vacates its original home in Falls Church and heads to Arlington Ridge with an ongoing focus on Lao and regional Thai food. Familiar imports include noodle dishes, curries, and rice dishes like the spicy khao paad ka pao. Padaek 2.0 will also get a new logo that prominently features marinating jars used to make its famous fermented fish sauce. A grand opening date and hours will be announced soon. Padaek slides into the old home of Delia’s, which got a complete renovation. 2931 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia
The original Padaek is turning into a fast-casual offshoot
Luangrath took over Thai spot Bangkok Golden in 2010 and slowly added Lao dishes of her own, eventually renaming the restaurant Padaek — the word for Laos’s potent fish sauce — in 2017. The Falls Church standby near Seven Corners will now transform into a fast-casual, bistro-style restaurant called Met Khao. A select few dishes from outgoing Padaek will remain, but the main menu is moving over to its new South Arlington home. 6395 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church, Virginia
- On Monday, May 22, Luangrath offers a cooking demonstration, tasting, and answers questions as part of 2023 Foodelicious Night, an event presented by the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs as part of AAPI Heritage Month. Free to attend but RSVPs are required. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
- Luangrath hosts a Lao Malay prix fixe AAPI Chef Collaboration Dinner (Tuesday, May 23) with chef James Wozniuk of Makan. Seating times and tickets will be announced soon, with proceeds to benefit an AAPI nonprofit.
- A Mother’s Day lunch and dinner menu (Sunday, May 14) at Thip Khao brings back a cross-section of popular dishes from Hanumanh. A la carte items include sakoo tapioca dumplings, salat hua pii banana blossom salad, thom khem braised pork ribs, and mak muang stuffed mango with avocado sticky rice. Reserve a seat here. 3462 14th Street NW