All posts filed under: Lao American

Lao American Writers Summit and making a case for the arts

Seven years ago Catzie Vilayphonh, Bryan Thao Worra and I co-founded the Lao American Writers Summit. Lead by Bryan we were able to raise funds and support from foundations, state agencies, individuals, and businesses. LAWS could not have happened without that initial support. In order to understand the significance of LAWS, you have to first understand the circumstances of Laotian communities. We came here as refugees. Survivors of the Secret War in Laos – a proxy conflict of the Vietnam War. Anti-communist Laotians fought on the side of the CIA. Thousands of Laotians were sent to re-education/labor camps, the lucky ones only saw their friends executed. My father, uncles, and grandfather escaped labor camps. After the fall of Long Chieng, an exodus of Laotians fled Laos, sought safety at refugee camps in neighboring countries. Since the late 70s, there are approximately 240,000 Laotian Americans nationally with roughly 12,000 calling Minnesota home. Unlike many of our APIA artist communities, Laotian artists more or less work in isolation as they are likely the only Laotian artist in …

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 …