All posts filed under: Lao Diaspora

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 …

Letter to My Daughter for International Womens Day

Dear Nakanya Dao, It’s van mae ying hang saht. International Women’s Day. I named you after a dragon princess because you breathed fire since being in my womb. There’s a reason why Laos celebrates its women and America shrugs it as another day. Our pain still lingers in the skies. Our freedom is still floating between the Mekong and the Mississippi. They say we’ll feel human again when we are free, but you must know the heavy stories we carry in our tong ma lai bags. These stories disintegrate between the blood-soaked pages of your school’s alternative history books. Before I felt American as a naturalized citizen, I was a Resident Alien. Holding onto a fragile green card through my teen years. Before I felt home on the prairie, I was a 2-year-old displaced refugee, in a faded pink petal dress gifted by the Filipinos at the Bataan camp. Before I felt human, I was born on the frigid floor of a crumbling Viengxai cave. Before I could feel, I was in your grandmother’s pa jia sling. Sinking …