by Saeng Douangdara


We are honored to invite you to attend our first “LA’s Best Papaya Salad Competition” that will take place at 625 N Alvarado St. Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, March 29th from 3-6pm. With the host Rita Phetmixay, we want to crown one winner for the best papaya salad maker in LA.  The event will bring in everyone that loves Lao papaya salad and it will continue centering and uplifting Lao food. The event is an excellent opportunity to bring the Lao community together while fostering support from outside of the community.

SPONSORS: PhoLaoSouphy, Ninja Foods, Banana Leaf Kitchen, LaoMazing Eats, THUM & THUM, Kra Z Kai’s Laotian Barbeque, Vientiane Lao Thai Restaurant, Royal King Elephant, Honeybee


This is a FREE event but we ask all guests to RSVP since the space has a max capacity. All guests will be given the opportunity to try all the competitors papaya salad then will place their vote for their favorite papaya salad! Please grab your ticket and RSVP here.


We have 15 spots for the best competitors. If you think you got what it takes to make the best papaya salad, please sign up. We will awarding prizes to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and win prizes and bragging rights! Please sign up to be a competitor here.


  1. Event will provide general papaya salad ingredients: sugar, garlic, papaya, shrimp paste, crab paste, padaek, fish sauce, lime, tomato, salt, fresh bird eye chili
  2. Event will provide sticky rice.
  3. Competitors must bring their own mortar and pestle and are allowed to bring any special ingredient.
  4. All competitors must use padaek (unfiltered fish sauce) in their papaya salad.
  5. 20 minutes to make papaya salad.


Saeng (@iamsaeng) is a professional chef and cooking instructor based in Los Angeles.  He advocates and raises awareness for Lao food through food videos and cooking classes.  He was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after his parents fled Laos.  His diverse background growing up as a Lao American in the Midwest where he pursued a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison following his master’s at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has given him a wide appreciation of foods around the world.  He is an acclaimed chef with mentions in Foodbeast, LA Times, Hollywood Reporter, and LA news KTLA5.  He has published food photography in magazines, lectured at universities, provided cooking lessons across food retailers, and cooked for Hollywood events. He teaches students the science and the historical context of foods. His philosophy around cooking is to make it approachable, educational, and fun!

Ava (@CookingOutLao) Ava is a Lao American who is passionate about cooking and baking.  She is known as the Thum Queen with her delicious obsession over papaya salad and always turning out very dark thummakhoong papaya salad. Growing up, her mom taught her how to make Lao food and not skipping out on the funk.  She created her brand “CookingoutLao” as a way of showcasing her underrepresented Lao cuisine- a food that often gets misidentified or overlooked. Ava has cooked for private catering and community pop-up events specializing in Lao dishes to the delight of her guests.  Her delicious and rustic style of cooking can be found on Instagram @cookingoutlao.  

Meng (@eating_with_meng), she’s a mom, a wife and a favorite personal chef to all her friends. Her cooking is well known around her friends and family and she’s not shy to share her recipe. Meng’s family immigrated to Minnesota in 1989 from Laos. She’s the oldest daughter and self-taught herself to cook for her siblings at a young age. Meng has always been involved with the Lao community but cooking wasn’t her passion until she became a mom. Thanks to her mom and YouTube she now has an ability to make a great meal, especially her Khao Pieak Sen or any assortment of noodle dishes. For the love of Lao food that Meng has, she started an account on Instagram @eating_with_meng to share her passion for cooking. In the near future, she plans to open a Lao restaurant in Los Angeles.

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