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The Joy of Lao Cooking

I love to eat. My philosophy: if you love to eat, you better know how to cook! I have a palate for many tastes growing up Lao-American. That means I’m a sucker for spicy foods and sauces as well as a juicy burger with melted cheese. I love my sticky rice, papaya salad, soups, herbs, laap. But then, I can’t live without my fries, hotdogs, potato salads, agua de horchata, tapas, naan, kimchi, banana bread–the smorgasbord of foods that I have been in contact with. 

With newfound inspiration, I have set out to make Lao dishes this spring and summer. I am a collector of Lao cookbooks and feel the authors can guide me to food nirvana. I will prepare some dishes each weekend. Good or bad, you will read about it in my blog posts.

The first cookbook I have is by a master chef, Phia Sing, who was a cook in the royal palace of Luang Prabang. The book, Traditional Recipes of Laos contains his original recipes. I hope I am up to those royal standards!

The next cookbook is by Penn Hongthong, Simple Laotian Cooking. She presents very easy-to-do recipes that I know and love. Apart from her book, she teaches Lao cooking classes. I think she has a second book out as well. I gotta find that one.

Food from Northern Laos: The Boatlanding Cookbook, is a wonderful collection of recipes not known to me. I love the photography in the book, of foods and people making food. My family is from southern Laos, and so northern cooking was always a delicacy. I’m looking forward to cooking some dishes from this book.

Coincidentally, while I was in Berkeley, CA I happened upon a Lao restaurant owned by the author of Taste of Laos. I was familiar with her food, since she cooks the same foods found in her cookbook. I went overboard and ordered more food than I could eat. It was a wonderful experience to eat food cooked by the author herself.

Lastly, not pictured is a cookbook by the Lao American Women Association of Washington, DC. A few years back a group of women decided that they wanted to collect their recipes and so they had put together a cookbook. I might just have to order another one since mine is missing. To support and order your own LAWA cookbook, visit their website.

Anyway, please look forward to seeing some cooking going on in my kitchen.



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