All posts filed under: Food and Travel

Vientiane: Like You Bor Hu!

Greetings, readers! I’m Jason, a Texan based in Laos for over a decade, working in various aspects of tourism. In a sense, I’m the reverse from most of you; perhaps an American-Lao? In any case, I have been here long enough to have fallen long out of that “honeymoon” phase that foreigners on short-term contracts to Laos often have. They’re the ones responsible for the generic superficial articles you typically see on Laos, enchanted by lines of monks at almsgiving, savory food, marvelous waterfalls, and the slow pace of life. Those things are all great, but there’s much more to Laos than that. I like to look at unusual places; the neglected history, what makes the country tick, and where it may go from here. I make no claims to be an expert on anything, but am simply curious to learn more and show you what I’ve found. I’ll aim to present the things I find, to the best of my understanding, though others may likely know more or find my thoughts completely off track. …

Interview: Chef James Syhabout and Hawker Fare

It’s taken the Lao community by storm. Hawker Fare: Recipes & Stories from a Refugee Chef’s Thai Isan & Lao Roots was released at the beginning of the year and people are still buzzing. The book was published under Anthony Bourdain’s imprint, a man known for culinary travel shows like No Reservations and Parts Unknown. For a population that’s long been under the shadow of neighbouring Thailand, many are thrilled to see their cuisine brought into the limelight. For the history buffs–northeastern Thailand was once a part of the Kingdom of Laos. So, Isan food/Northeastern Thailand cuisine has roots from Laos. The author is Chef James Syhabout, who says his identity is difficult to box in. “People say I’m Lao and people say I’m Thai. I’m both. Lao American chef? Sure. Thai American chef? Sure, I’m that too. It’s complicated.” James was born in northeast Thailand to a Lao father and a Thai Isan mother. The trio landed in the US in 1981. They made a home in west Oakland, California, forging a community with other …