If you've ever had sticky rice, you've probably tasted cuisine from the Southeast Asian country of Laos.
Located about 300 miles to the north of Thailand, Laos is the home country of Phouthone "Lay" Ngadouangrath, the new owner of Sioux City's Diamond Thai Cuisine.
According to Ngadouangrath, sticky rice -- which is actually called "sweet rice" or "glutinous rice" -- is a staple food in Lao cuisine and goes best with Larb, a meaty salad that has been deemed the national food of the country.
Along with his wife Viengkhone "Kee" Seummalavanh, Ngadouangrath )took over the popular 515 West Seventh St. restaurant from original owner Pete Uttahchoo earlier this fall.
Diamond Thai's new owners will be profiled in the Wednesday food section of the Sioux City Journal.
So far, Ngadouangrath has messed with the menu created by Utthachoo (a native of Thailand), he'll be making some changes in time.
Which begs the simple question: how does traditional Lao food differ from the cuisine of Thailand.
Although Ngadouangrath said the dishes might have similarities, the actual cuisine differ as well.
1. Thai food is spicier and sweeter than food from Laos
With an emphasis on curries and coconut milk, Thai food is often spicier or sweeter than food from their northern neighbor.
2. Laotian food is saltier and a but more pungent
Authentic Lao food contains a lot of fish sauce, making it slightly more salty than Thai food.
3. Both cuisines consists of rich sauces and exotic herbs
While Thai food is more accessible to Western tastes, traditional Lao cuisine share many of the same ingredients. Such common ingredients include ginger, lemongrass, turmeric and galangal.
Ngadouangrath said dinners who enjoy Thai food will also enjoy authentic Lao dishes.
"Both are very flavorful and delicious" he said.