A Laotian restaurant in Minnesota, United States, has been selected as one of the top 15 new places to dine in the country.
Eater, a digital media brand dedicated to all things food and dining, highlighted Khâluna, a restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota as its list of best new places to eat.
Khâluna simply translated means “please” in the Lao language, and the restaurant promises to be “a bridge between Minneapolis and the regions of Southeast Asia” and “transport you across the ocean with its colorful array of food that will satisfy all of your vacation cravings.”
“With Khâluna, chef-owner Ann Ahmed is cooking precise and imaginative Laotian cuisine, exploring tradition without limiting herself to it,” Eater said in its review of the restaurant.
As someone who fled the civil war engulfing Laos as a young child, and had often sought out food as a way to connect to her culture and roots, Ann Ahmed, expressed her elation at this new recognition and honor in a recent interview.
“To be in the category of one of the best restaurants in America, I think it’s incredible and well-deserved for the Laotian communities, and for Lao food,” she said describing her cuisine as Laotian-Minnesotan.
As someone who already runs two other successful restaurants, she also discussed how attending a food treat in Laos gave her the confidence to open a place that focused exclusively in Lao cuisine. According to her, the new restaurant symbolizes her journey and her growth as a person, something she is very proud of.
“I came off a week-long food retreat with Laotian chefs from all over the world that I met in Laos and we discussed our food. To me, that’s where my inspiration comes from,” said chef Ann.
And the Eater points this out as well, “This marriage of style and flavor reveals a confidence that could only come from a chef who, with two other successful restaurants under her belt, has come into her own.”
“I’m proud to be Lao-Minnesotan, it’s exciting to be able to have a Laotian restaurant in the city that I love,” added Chef Ann.