Hmong video stores offer cinema and salad

Photo By illustration by MARK STIVERS

Aside from the occasional taco truck—or those trendy gourmet-food trucks serving up an Americanized version of the banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich)—it’s difficult to find any ethnic street food in Sacramento. Enter the Hmong video store. In addition to selling videos dubbed in Hmong, several of these stores upon request offer the freshest papaya salad in town (outside of certain Southeast Asian holiday celebrations).

L&L Video (6420 Stockton Boulevard) serves a papaya salad with copious peanuts, while T.B. Video (6685 Stockton Boulevard, Suite 6) serves up a more zesty lime-and-baby-crab-heavy salad. Order at the checkout counter, and then customize the spice to taste by choosing how many chili peppers you want. Two or three usually does the trick, but sometimes even that many is searing and is not recommended for beginners. Tip: If too spicy, go home and add diced raw cabbage or cold rice noodles.