in denmark, the minimum wage is a little over 100kr ($18 USD). while that is of course great for employees and the standard of living, it can make eating out a nightmare. sometimes servers think there is no reason to smile at customers or improve on service because they don't rely on tips; in fact tipping is uncommon in denmark. i have experienced my fair share of rude waiters and that extra 20 minutes of waiting for my food/drink/bill. but i won't say that this country is made up of bad restaurants with horrible service. on the contrary, last night was a shining example for me! a friend of mine invited me to a vegan dinner arranged by vegetar kontakt, a danish site for vegetarians and vegans.
seeing the seventeen of us seated around the table, i was expecting the worst. asian restaurants are not always known for their hospitality (i.e. korean servers ignoring non-korean guests) but this place went above and beyond to accommodate. lá lúa made a special vegan menu just for us and even made it all gluten-free for my friend, who has a sensitivity to it. i have never seen such service in denmark or at any vietnamese eatery i've been to! the food (and extra rice, yay!) kept coming and pitchers of water were left for us so no one went hungry or thirsty. and yet our server still came by once in a while to check on us and see how we liked it. they even let us take home doggy bags, which is pretty much unheard of in denmark!
the spring rolls and summer rolls were both wrapped in rice paper and served with sauces NOT containing fish sauce or wheat soy sauce. our server was happy to explain the ingredients to our meal when we asked again and again, just to make sure. the mango salad and the house-made tofu were a dream. they even brought in a special kind of dried tofu (badly pictured above) just for us. while i have to admit that not all of the dishes were the authentic vietnamese cuisine (stir-fried vegetables in soy sauce?) i remember from westminster and garden grove in california, it was all really good. the only one that really stood out like a sore thumb on our table was tofu in tomato sauce. but like i said, still good. and who knows, maybe it is super authentic; i've never been to vietnam so i can't really talk. at one point i realized that some my fellow diners were saying how spicy the stir-fried dried tofu was. i had barely noticed... but then again, it was a group of danes with a couple foreigners thrown in. the spice tolerance level here is pretty minimal, but that's understandable. i'm sure the restaurant can make much spicier and/or more authentic food; which is why i plan to go back soon! (:
2400 københavn nv
38 19 63 63
UPDATE d. 23. januar:
i was just reminded today that we each paid 15kr for tap water served in a pitcher. that is the only bad thing i can say about the evening, though. no restaurant should charge for tap water!