But on an overcast day that threatened drizzle, I played it cozy and ordered my larb pa ($10) with cooked tilapia, plus a side of sticky rice ($2). Though the flavors of cilantro, onion, and lemon grass didn't transport me back to Somchan Restaurant in Luang Prabang, this is easily as close as I've come. (Somchan had a view of a swimming hole on the Mekong; the space adjoining Green Papaya serves as a video store and, that day, as a (birthday) party room.)
Made with a fish other than tilapia, which can come across as muddy but here was simply neutral, Green Papaya's larb pa could be superb; as it was I left the restaurant glowing and (for the moment) full. Though I'd never expect to see the Luang Prabang specialties khái pâen and jąew bąwng, I'd gladly work my way through that specials board.
209 International Blvd. (2nd-3rd Aves.), Oakland