With Christmas just around the corner and other holiday celebrations, many Little Laos readers are likely well in the midst of gift shopping. However, if you’re still at a loss, want to think about gifts for other occasions or just want to treat yourself, consider supporting some of these Lao-themed brands and businesses with this handy shopping guide. Don’t see your favorite? Chime in in the comments section below.
-FOOD & SNACKS-
Making tham mak hoong has never been easier. Just add some some instant and authenetic papaya salad sauce from Ninja Foods to any food you’d like. Their sauces come in three spice levels — mild, medium and hot.
Inspired by the diverse backgrounds of its culinary team, Lat14, a restaurant based in Golden Valley, Minnesota, serves a bit more upscale versions of your favorite Lao, Thai, Cambodian foods and more. Take your taste buds on a trip around the world and visit if you get the chance.
Soul Lao is a traveling food truck based in Minnesota, but stopping by is worth it if you’re nearby. It serves a seasonal, concise and homey menu that features dishes like khaopoon, chicken feet and mok pa. Stay tuned to Little Laos for a more in-depth feature on the folks behind the eatery. Updates on locations can be found on their social media.
Visual artist Kham Sanavongsay’s designs can be seen on her Lao-inspired clothing and accessories. She uses traditional textiles to create scarves, aprons, skirts and more. Sanavongsay said on her Instagram page that more items will be added in January.
Savan Apparel’s motto, “Rediscover your roots, Recapture your heritage,” brings back memories and stories of a rich history. Their website says their merchandise, which includes shirts, jackets, hats and flags, is designed with cultural preservation in mind.
A brand “for the culture of the people,” Laos Supply stocks tons of options for on-trend jerseys, hoodies, slides and more with a Southeast Asian twist. Rep the motherland in style.
We’d be remiss in not mentioning the newly-released book by our mother organization, The SEAD Project. Minnesota’s first anthology of Southeast Asian narratives includes artwork, stories and poetry from Hmong, Khmer, Lao and Viet community members.
Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers
In this children’s book by Vilayvanh Bender, Mahlee learns how her life in America differs from her mother’s growing up in Laos. Depicting sweet parallels between two generations and illustrated by Nor Sanavongsay, this book is a great introduction to sharing and promoting acceptance of other cultures.
When Everything Was Everything
In her debut children’s book, writer and poet Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay retells her childhood stories as a Lao refugee through poetry. As a realistic depiction of immigrant experiences, this book is sure to reach both kids and adults alike. Read this Little Laos story for a more in-depth feature on the author and book.
Growing up in a traditional Lao household while active in Chicago hip-hop culture, Chantala Kommanivanh’s artwork explores the duality of culture and questions identity. This limited edition print is a reproduction of one of his original mixed media paintings.
Nor Sanavongsay is an illustrator, artist, web developer and founder of Sahtu Press, a Lao American publishing company. Sanavongsay has illustrated for a few books himself, but this particular pack comes with three posters from his Phra Lak Phra Lam art series.
The artwork of Kheuthmy Khambay, otherwise known as Loy, is heavily inspired by feng shui, operating on the idea that art can change the mood and energy of a room. Not only does Khambay list prints and canvases on her site, but she also sells her artwork on shirts, bags and backpacks.
What other Lao businesses, artists or creators are you supporting?