By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 21, 2020 at 1:01 PM

Lao food will be the showcase of an upcoming pop-up at the Crossroads Collective food hall, 2238 N. Farwell Ave.

The pop-up, which will take place March 12-22, will feature SapSap, a food-based business through which owner Alex Hanesakda has introduced the food world to both food products and experiences that underscore both Lao flavors and traditions.

"Crossroads originally approached us to be a vendor," says Hanesakda. "Ultimately, I told them that we’d be most comfortable with the idea of participating as a pop-up to see how things go."

Hanesakda says he’s also excited to work in collaboration with local chef Darleen Vanmanivong, a cook whose experience includes work at Birch + Butcher, to execute the pop-up.

On the menu

He says the menu will be short and sweet. But it will feature a number of SapSap’s most popular items including snacks like Lao beef jerky, scented with lemongrass and garlic, and Mama’s eggrolls filled with chicken, potatoes and vermicelli noodles.

There will also be entrees like pha khao, a platter featuring SapSap kaffir lime sausage and kai yaan, Isaan style marinated grilled chicken, sticky rice and carrot and tamarind smashed salad; and a pun bowl with charred skirt steak, rice noodles, daikon, cucumber and Red Boat fish sauce.

Hanesakda says they will also feature two soups, one each week, including me kha tee, a fragrant coconut curry with pork and rice noodles and garnished with banana blossoms and mint.

Guests will also have the first opportunity to taste and purchase SapSap’s new Lao hot sauce, a product which will just be entering its inaugural production phase this March. The sauce, which we sampled in November on our FoodCrush podcast is savory and not shy on flavor or heat. In fact, it’s delicious on (dare I say?) just about anything, made from a combination of Thai chilies, garlic, lime, ginger and fish sauce.

"We’re really excited to be part of the whole scene," says Hanesakda. "We get our biggest response for our pop-up dinners from people in Milwaukee, so it will be really great to spend some time in the city."

Hours for the pop-up will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.