All posts filed under: Cooking

Chef Seng Luangrath on Why Reclaiming Lao Food and it’s Award-Winning Taste Matters

(Chef Seng @Thip Khao. Photo: Jai Williams) At 7-years-old, Chef Seng Luangrath never imagined that the cooking skills she inherited from her grandmother and aunties at the refugee camps she went through would become award-winning staples in America, where she’s now serving Lao comfort food in the East Coast. As the Lao food addicts population rises to well-deserved acclaim, Chef Seng Luangrath of Washington D.C. has been hailed as one of the pioneers of the #LaoFoodMovement, blazing the path with her savory introduction to Lao cuisine to the masses. After reviving an empty Thai restaurant called Bangkok Golden in Washington D.C. in 2010 and steadily inserting Lao dishes to the menu, Thip Khao was born and the rave reviews of her award-winning food hasn’t stopped since. The latest on Chef Seng’s repertoire is her recent nomination for the prestigious James Beard award, where she’s a semifinalist in the “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” category. This is a first for a Lao women chef. We got a chance to chat with Chef Seng about her reactions to the high honor, her …

Dreams and Diaspora: An interview with Alisak Sanavongsay

Alisak Sanavongsay is a classic example of quiet leadership in the Lao community. Soft-spoken and good-natured, he works tirelessly to build a revitalized Lao tradition, volunteering with a wide range of events and organizations from the SatJaDham Lao Literary Project, the Lao Artists Festival of Elgin, the National Lao American Writers Summit, and the Center for Lao Studies, just to name a few. He’s also become known for his role in shooting and editing the popular “Cooking with Nana” show on YouTube.  Currently a programmer at the University of California-Merced, Alisak traces his roots to Savannakhet, Laos, initially resettling in Tennessee and Illinois before moving to California with his family. We had a chance to discuss his journey with him: Can you tell us a little about yourself? What’s a part of your family’s story in coming to America that lingers with you the most,  especially as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lao Diaspora? I was born in a village called Bane Thasano, in Savannakhet, Laos. I’m the oldest of three children. When I was …