Nov 14, 2023 - News

A preview of downtown Cary's new Laotian restaurant Saap

The crispy pork belly, coconut curry and egg drop soup at Saap. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

On Wednesday, the former Brewery Bhavana and Bida Manda executive chef Lon Bounsanga will open his first restaurant in downtown Cary — the hotly-anticipated Saap.

  • Axios got a preview of the new restaurant, inspired by Bounsanga's home country of Laos, last week.

What to expect: A menu that hits you with fistfuls of flavor — especially in the complex broths used in many of its dishes.

The bar seating at Saap. Photo: Lucille Sherman/Axios

Details: Saap is located on the first floor of the new Walker apartment complex, in a sleek dining space that looks out over the new Downtown Cary Park and highlights the area's burgeoning food scene.

  • Bounsanga bills the menu as an exploration of Loatian street food, with grilled small plates that could conceivably be carried into the park — like char-grilled tiger shrimp, pork skewers, a Lao herb sausage and chicken wings marinated in spicy honey.
  • The restaurant's large plates include a number of delightful curry dishes and soups, braised pork belly, a rotating North Carolina fish seasoned with southeast Asian spices and a lettuce-wrap plate.
Crispy spring rolls, bottom, and papaya salad appetizers. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

What we ate: For starters, we ordered crispy coconut rice lettuce wraps (topped with a crunchy peanut hot sauce, $15) and papaya salad ($13).

  • For our mains, we dove into the pork belly, coconut curry and egg drop soup (a lovely collision of sweet coconut and savory pork with a spiciness rising in the background, $26) and the comfort-food excellence of Khua Mee noodles ($22).
  • Dessert was a three-layer rice pudding topped with mangoes and a mocktail that combined ginger beer and lychee (a sweet fruit our waiter said reminded her of the color pink).

Location: 370 S. Walker St. Suite 100

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 5-10pm. (Lunch hours will be added at a later date.)


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