In Their Own Words: Oskar Ly’s Favorite Restaurants

In Their Own Words: Oskar Ly’s Favorite Restaurants

Local Hmong French-American artist and cultural producer Oskar Ly has quite the resume. From lead vocalist for Hmong hip hop funk band PosNoSys to playwright of the musical WOMN + WOMN and fashion artist for Os.Couture (her own label). Despite her many undertakings, Oskar still finds time to explore the local food scene and she gave us the inside scoop on the best local, authentic, family-run restaurants in her favorite corners of Saint Paul.


Bymore Supermercado

Their pop-up elote (Mexican grilled corn) cart in the summertime is the perfect treat as you walk up and down Payne Ave.


Serving up some of the tastiest and most interesting dive bar variety from chicken feet and papaya salad to savory pizza! It’s totally ok to grab this before late night crowds get in.

Plaza Del Sol

Find authentic Salvadorian cuisine and delicious mangonadas here!


Demera Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar

One of the newer Ethiopian restaurants in St Paul, and a favorite with deep rich flavor, you’ll want to dig in. Best veggie platter combo ever.  Bring a friend or two.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

Trung Nam French Bakery

This Vietnamese french bakery is the best stop for croissant pastries and a classic banh mi.

Little Mekong

Ai Hue's Bakery & Deli

Best known for their Vietnamese bakery specialties, my favorite dish of theirs is the Bò Kho (beef stew). To me, it reminds of a rich homestyle pho with a rich and hearty hug!

Cheng Heng Restaurant

Khmer favorite dishes like Luc Lac (black pepper beef with lime dipping sauce) and Machu Kroeng (beef soup with celery).

Lao Thai

Nam khao is a savory Lao crispy rice salad with sour pork sausage packed with flavors. Try this instead of fried rice or noodles, you won’t find it anywhere else.

Thai Café

Chef Yuwadee brings her authentic Thai culinary training from her homeland to St Paul, we are lucky to have her. Skip your typical dish and get the pad kee mao. I haven’t gone back to pad thai since.



From drink, food to baked treats, there is something to keep your tummy and taste buds happy for all hours of the day. They also carry some of the most darling collection of local art and gifts.

Photo courtesy of Yelp


An ice cream cafe with a delicious variety of locally made flavors that change daily, perfect on a summer day. It comes with an Izzy scoop – a mini ice cream flavor scoop of your choice on top of your selection. I also love the Izzy pops, think cake pops made with ice cream.

On’s Kitchen

With a wide menu selection, this place offers staple Thai street fares like Khao Mun Gai (chicken and rice) with On’s ginger and garlic Sauce. If you have company, try the Meing-Kum, a build your own bite appetizer with an assortment of diced flavors into a lettuce wrap. Also try a fish, any fish!

Russian Tea House

A quaint joint located inside a Victorian side-by-side making some of the best pelmenis and borscht in town. With limited hours, you’ll be lucky to catch a taste of it.

Sole Café

Chef Kimberly Firnstahl delivers bold flavors – the Gal Bee (broiled beef spare ribs) are marinated with the chef's own special sauce.

Double the Location, Double the Delicious

HmongTown Marketplace (Frogtown) and Hmong Village (Eastside)

If you’ve ever wondered “what is Hmong food?”, you can now get your fix. Hmong food galore and specialty shops await here. You’ll be sure to find varieties of grilled meats, Hmong sausage, pho and homey dishes like steamed pork cabbage or rice rolls. You’ll also find mangonadas, boba teas, and even a year-round indoor farmers market.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

Los Ocampo Restaurant & Bar (Frogtown, Eastside)

Whether you’re looking for a sit-down or a fast-casual option (that’s also open late), Los Ocampo has multiple locations and offers an authentic Mexican taqueria experience with nearly two dozen specialties and meat selections, including vegetarian options.

To learn more about Oskar, check out her website—

On’s Thai Kitchen Restaurants/Dining On’s Thai Kitchen
Checkerbar Food & Liquor Restaurants/Dining Checkerbar Food & Liquor
Cheng Heng Restaurant Restaurants/Dining Cheng Heng Restaurant
Sole Café Restaurants/Dining Sole Café
Groundswell Bakeries & Coffee Shops Groundswell
Thai Cafe Restaurants/Dining Thai Cafe
Lao Thai Restaurant Restaurants/Dining Lao Thai Restaurant
Trung Nam French Bakery Bakeries & Coffee Shops Trung Nam French Bakery
Plaza Del Sol Restaurants/Dining Plaza Del Sol
Bymore Supermercado Restaurants/Dining Bymore Supermercado