All posts tagged: New York City

Monica Phromsavanh: The Lao New Yorker with Argentinian Roots

Many who know about the history of Lao refugees already know about the largest Lao Diaspora communities that existed in America, France and Canada, but little has been known about the over 1,800 Laotians who started new lives in Argentina (the 8th largest population of Lao outside of Laos). A brief survey from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees tells a snippet of what life was like for Lao Argentinians: A 1986 report indicates Laotians in particular had a difficult time adapting to Argentine life, and had difficulty finding work. [ World Refugee Survey 1986, p. 59.] Following the country’s economic decline, which sharpened after the Falklands War, the government promulgated a decree giving Indochinese refugees the possibility of acquiring Argentine nationality, of enjoying full rights, and of choosing their settlement location. [ World Refugee Survey 1983, p. 52.] Many sought jobs in Buenos Aires, and some five hundred Laotians reportedly ended up requesting repatriation after unsuccessful attempts at settling. By 1986, however, only 17 families had been granted visas to leave Argentina. [ World Refugee Survey …

The Lao Food Love Affair in NYC: Chef Phet of Khe-Yo

This is a first part series on Lao food in the mainstream food scene. The Modern Lao Chef with Midwest Roots It starts with the smells. Tasting it comes second. In its traditional form, the sight of it scares the hell out of you. Then when both senses cancel out what the eyes think they see as exotic and weird, a magical dance occurs on the tip of your tongue. It’s not your usual sweet and sour takeout that it should remind you of. It’s new, different and yet so comforting. It’s bold, a bit pungent, and delightfully bitter. Your mouth becomes happy at the joy of the unknown flavors the typical American would never imagine as being delicious. And that’s how a typical beginner’s love affair starts with Lao food. In the heart of Tribeca village in New York City, there are two Lao chefs. At Khe-Yo, Kansas-based Chef Phet Schwader is a no-nonsense Lao American food scene hustler who enjoys playing with flavors of Southeast Asia. Across the street is Chef Jeannie, a low-key mom …