Apr 5, 2007

Online Stuff

I’m a reader of blogs. Lately I’ve been hitting pay dirt in my search for good Lao blogs.
I already knew Lao Meow was a winner, the author has been blogging while I haven’t been paying attention. The two posts that I liked were one identifying some of her collaborators for things Thai Lu, and the other is about the wat behind the Muang Sing Gest House. If you’ve ever stayed there you know the one. Looks like she even had a second story room in the back where she took pictures.
The Cat as she calls herself poses questions about Theravada Buddhism as practiced by the Thai Lu and has her queries answered by her three Thai Lu and one Hmong, monk collaborators.
I like it when things that I already have looked at are explained such that I understand them better.
Check it out for yourself.


I’ve also looked through a couple Lao food blogs. The one by a half Thai half Lao, now Canadian resident, Ms. Manivan Larprom, is a lot of fun. After you make it past all the requests for donations and sales hype for her cooking book, the recipes are the real McCoy. She even has the bravery to write down Bang Nuea in the ingredients but lists it as optional along with other ingredients westerners might not like, such as tripe. All the standbys are there. Actually the first time I’ve seen any of this food written down.
My one gripe is that she doesn’t call things by name. I can see it when there is a common English name like egg rolls, but how can you call Kao Piak Sen, chicken rice noodle porridge.
It’s the first time I’ve heard anyone actually describe how to cook sticky rice. For the uninitiated, Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Hmong, don’t have a clue. The beginning of any good food is the rice, and for Lao food that means sticky rice. One comment asks “do you really have to soak it 4 hours” uh huh! It seems so simple, something everyone cooks twice and often four times a day. But as evidenced by what happens when someone who doesn’t know how to cook it gives a try, I’d say it’s an art form. If you read carefully she tells you how to reheat the old rice on top of the new, and what to do with old dried up rice. No electric rice cookers here, just a pot and a cone type basket.
I haven’t looked all the way through the blog. If you click on different months you get more stuff. If you click on the profile you get her other blogs, mostly deserts, drinks, vegetarian etc.
I haven’t watched the videos yet. I hardly even note the proportions of ingredients, just cruise the blog. It’s pretty good that way. Her recipes are normal and not weird at all, but often I pick up new ways to do things. I think the blog is mostly orientated towards people that have never cooked Lao before. Her painstaking efforts to write down everything must be a big help.

Ms. Manivan Larprom

The authenticity makes it very interesting to someone who already is familiar with the food. This is also the first time I’ve seen a Lao cook book in English where the English is correct. Others like the famous “Cooking Thai Food in American Kitchens” have gross mistakes, calling a cup a quart or wrong names for ingredients etc. Ms. Larprom thankfully, is truly bilingual.

I’d be willing to bet the best part of Ms Larproms background is her moms name, Sanoubane, now that’s the name of someone who knows their way around a jar of plah dek!!
Thai Lao Food at Blogspot dot com

1 comment:

chaskemp said...

A day late and a dollar short, but I finally linked your blog in the budget guide to SEA