Lao Foodie: Behind the Business – Sep Lai

Line & Natassia

Owner & Chef of Sep Lai

“I love how food can really bring people together and create amazing sensory memories.”

What's the name of your business and how did you come up with it?

My restaurant’s name is Sep Lai which means “it is delicious” in Lao. I originally chose it because I thought is was “it was delicious” referring to the sweet memories of my mothers cooking and my childhood.

What are your inspirations for being in the food industry?

My parents had a restaurant when I was growing up. I have always been drawn to the hospitality industry. I love how food can really bring people together and create amazing sensory memories.

What were some of your challenges being a Lao business?

My biggest challenge has been to get people to understand that we are a Lao restaurant, we offer a cuisine that is unique to its country of origin. We had trouble getting people not to expect their idea of what an “asian” restaurant is. The cuisine is so varied across different regions of Asia, and educating people about our flavours and customs was an adjustment.

What advice would you give to someone based on your experience?

Having a varied panel of mentors to help you navigate your business. From professional chefs, to home cooks, to social media, and marketing experts. Having a strong community behind you is essential to success.

What's your favorite Lao dish?

My favourite is Tom Maak Hoong !

You can find Sep Lai listing on here at

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