All posts tagged: Lao food

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 …

Lao Life: Food is the Ultimate Social Experience

It is a blessing to be able to appreciate youth at a young age. It is a blessing to be able to taste good food while your taste buds are still fully functional (assuming you have stellar ones to begin with). I spent my wonderful teen years in Laos; living the life of a poor vagabond, rich in experiences. I knew a life where happiness came from the company of good friends and a table decked with good food. Everything was cheap and simple because we were all broke and bumming off of our parents, anyways.  We were truly happy. In 2017, $10 could feed a group of at least five! We did not have shopping malls filled with brand name shops or the money to spend in “hi-so” (expensive/luxurious) restaurants but we had sunsets on a river’s bend and heaven at a roadside food stall. My friends were an eclectic bunch: from humble farm boys to business owners, from the very young to the very old; my requirements were not age or background specific, …