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Visit Vientiane Bistro

Visit Sunny Phanthavong at the Kensington location and enjoy the tasty dishes served at the Foodizen event—silkworms and all.

2537 Kensington Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(267) 703-8199


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About the Foodizen series

Read more from our Foodizen series here.

Foodizen, a new regular feature from The Citizen, delves into the nexus of food and culture in cities, as a way to tell us about the people, experiences, tastes and history of Philadelphia.

We know that food is about more than food. And food stories intersect with the roiling life of the city—its politics, diversity, education, its ideas of home, the environment and quality of life. Through food, we can see how people strive for sustainability; survive food deserts; urban farm; build restaurants with social consciences; use restaurants as centers for activism, welcome and good cheer. We can see how people live—and what keeps them doing it.

Foodizen will take us into neighborhoods, far from the Center City foodie epicenter, not just for stories but also for community gatherings to explore some of the ideas that are continuously re-creating the city of Philadelphia.

Jason Wilson is The Citizen’s 2019 Jeremy Nowak Fellow, funded by Spring Point Partners, in honor of our late chairman Jeremy Nowak. He is the author of three books, including Boozehound and Godforsaken Grapes, which will be released in paperback in April. His next book, The Cider Revival, is due out in September. He is the series editor of The Best American Travel Writing, and writes for the Washington Post, New York Times, New Yorker and many other publications. His food writing has won numerous awards from the Association of Food Journalists, including Best Food Column four times. You can find him at

We’d love to hear from you. What food stories do you want to read about?

Let us know here.

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See the Foodizen menu


Event: Foodizen Dinner at Vientiane Bistro

Last week, Citizen members came together to enjoy a meal and learn how Lao cooking became rooted in Philadelphia

Event: Foodizen Dinner at Vientiane Bistro

Last week, Citizen members came together to enjoy a meal and learn how Lao cooking became rooted in Philadelphia

Gang naw mai, seen hang, and pad kee mao, kept the taste buds alive at the first Foodizen Dinner event at Sunny Phanthavong’s family restaurant, Vientiane Bistro, in Kensington.

The traditional Lao cooking—served over an eight course meal—celebrated the culture, the flavor, and the very identity of what makes Lao food a treasured piece of Philadelphia’s food scene.

Across two dining room tables, nestled in the tiny restaurant, 25 Philadelphians slurped down silkworm stew (or chomped on the little guys themselves, depending on their sense of adventure) and listened to the story of Phathavong’s family and the journey they took from an underground backyard food stop to two thriving restaurants in West Philly and Kensington.

The event was hosted by The Citizen’s Foodizen writer, Jason Wilson, who shared his wine and beer pairings for each course from the crispy coconut rice lettuce wraps to the mango sticky rice dessert.

Check out the photos below from the event and keep an eye out for our next Foodizen night:

Sunny Phanthavong serving the first main course. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Citizen Members enjoy the eight course meal at Vientiane Bistro. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Phanthavong and her team review the evening’s menu. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Guests could sample both a silkworm stew or silkworms straight up. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Foodizen writer and host Jason Wilson shares his experience writing about Vientiane Cafe & Bistro. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Vientiane Bistro chef prepares a traditional Lao meal. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Phanthavong serves up course and course to Citizen members. Photo by Anthony Pezzotti
Photo by Anthony Pezzotti

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