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Laos is a land of mystery. Specifically, I’m not entirely sure where Laos is.

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Fried rice with chicken at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Fried rice with chicken at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016.

Laos is a land of mystery. Specifically, I’m not entirely sure where Laos is.

Can we get a map dropped in here?

laos-map.jpg

Okay then. That’s Laos. It’s wedged between Vietnam and Thailand and Cambodia. Congratulations! We learned something new today.

Do you want to learn something else new? There is great Laotian food in Oklahoma City, down among the taquerias and auto parts stores, at 2920 S. Agnew Ave. Four J’s Diner is a tidy little shop with a handful of tables and a menu that’s chock-a-block full of fresh, spicy dishes for your newly educated tongue.

You: Wait a second. I just learned Laos was a country, and now I’m supposed to eat the food? What does it offer?

Me: I was getting to that. Jeez.

Laotian and Thai food share similarities — enough, at least, that you can get things like pad thai and green curry at Four J’s.

But what you should get, even if only for the name, is Seua Rong Hai, or Weeping Tiger. Yes, for just $10.50, you get to eat a grilled, marinated steak over salad with a hot chili sauce and tell people that you had something called Weeping Tiger.

Weeping Tiger at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Weeping Tiger at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016.

The steak is tasty, and that chili sauce is for real. Drizzle a little over your rice and take a bite. It’s citrusy and has a sting that will make your eyes bug out.

Pad-Sa-Ew ($8.50 for chicken, $9.50 for beef or pork, $12.95 for shrimp or seafood combo) is a thick, rice noodle stir-fry with broccoli, carrot, pepper, egg, garlic and sweet sauce. I had it with chicken at a three on the five-star heat scale, and it was like a satisfaction bomb went off in my stomach. The noodles are big enough to have a slight chew to them, and the chicken, cut against the grain, was juicy and tender.

Pad see ew with chicken at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Pad see ew with chicken at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016.

How do you feel about egg rolls?

You: I love egg rolls. Wait. Are these frozen? That kind always has a weird taste.

Me: No. These are made by the folks at Four J’s, and they’re kind of famous for them. People order them by the dozen to take home, and I can see why. That papery, crisp skin retains the glisten of frying without being oily. Inside, everything is tender with a little crunch. They’re four for $5 or a dozen for $10 if you get them to-go. Thumbs up all around.

Egg rolls at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Egg rolls at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016.

But wait! Four J’s also serves a heck of a spring roll (four for $7.50) with shrimp and thin rice noodles with fresh salad greens and veggies inside. As an appetizer, these are lovely and light and leave room for more substantial dishes to come.

I highly recommend you go for lunch, when you will find great combo deals, but I also heartily endorse full portions of the fried rice and pad thai ($8.50 for chicken, $9.50 for beef or pork, $12.95 for shrimp or seafood combo).

Pad thai at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Pad thai at Four J's Diner in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2016.

The fried rice wasn’t heavy, with a nice mix of vegetables inside and a hint of sweetness. Careful how hot you order it, though; when you start chowing down, the background burn can catch up to you quickly.

Before going to Four J’s, all I knew about Laos was that Kahn Souphanousinphone from King of the Hill was Laotian. I can’t claim to know that much more about it now, but I can tell you that Laotian food is a treat I think everybody should enjoy.

Print headline: Fresh ?avor, When was the last time you tried Weeping Tiger? Well, that’s too long.

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