Thip Khao is one of the first Laotian inspired restaurants on the east coast and is located in northern DC. The restaurant is known for their spicy “Jungle” menu dishes and in this particular visit our group went with the Banana Leaf Grilled Blue Catfish ($15). The catfish is broken down into pieces and mixed with ginger, red onions, lemongrass, kaffir lime and dill. It is then wrapped and grilled so that all the flavors are infused with the banana leaf giving it an extra earthy aroma. The plate is presented with the banana leaf still enclosed and when you open up the leaf, a wonderful aroma of ginger, kaffir lime and dill immediately strikes your senses. The catfish is masked by these ingredients but still stands out with its flaky, soft texture and pool of juices still present in the the banana leaf. The dish is served with a side of purple sticky rice and this is the ideal vehicle for scooping up a piece of fish and soaking up the juices to be enjoyed by all.