n i n j a f o o d s: Their Papaya Salad Sauce aka "thum sauce" comes in mild, medium and best-seller hot. If you can read Lao, you'll appreciate that the spice levels are actually labeled Not That Dangerous, Volcano and Earthquake. Packaged in a plastic bag inside a black light-safe 6-ounce container, the sauce can be stored at room temperature until ready to eat, but must be refrigerated once opened. Be forewarned to prepare yourself for the smell when you open, it's real.
kohk and sahk: You'll recognize this Cali-based company's brightly colored labels by their namesake logo, the mortar and pestle that's essential to Lao kitchen. Run by Thip Soulisak whose recipes were curated from local Lao cooks in his homebase of Northern Virginia. Our package contained seen savanh and seen hang in traditional beef and newly-popular pork version, both came regular and spicy -- all baked-cooked and ready-to-eat as a healthy option. We were also sent a not-yet-available jaew bong and a bag of fried banana chips (which were so dangerously addictive, they never made it to the kitchen).
Ma Der Food Co: Also serving up varieties of jerky, this family-run company is based in Dallas, giving them the best USDA lean cuts of beef their side of Texas. Their seen hang and seen savanh (also in beef/pork, regular/spicy flavors), are based on their late mother's recipes and boasts all natural ingredients. In addition, we also received jaew bong and sai oua.
Sap Sap: This is a company all about their sausages, shipped to us were a three options to choose from: sai gok, Lao-style bratwursts, and SapSap sticks. Formerly Mama's Eggrolls, owner Alex Hanesakda credits Wisconsin agriculture and being able to locally source their hogs, poultry and produce for the best best products -- all made with no msg! The name translates loosely to "that good good".
KhaoLaam LLC: You may have seen them making appearances at Lao New Year festivals serving up the famous coconut milk sticky rice dessert cooked inside bamboo. That's because the folks behind this Georgia-based company got their start as street food hawkers, a family tradition learned from Mom. They use fresh coconut which can go rancid quickly, so orders are immediately frozen before being shipped and must be placed in the freezer once received, until ready to consume. In other words, make sure someone's home to make room in the icebox.