Oct 6, 2007

A Lao Food Blog I've been reading

But first a photo, have to have something to catch the eye right?

I thought this pepper was a habanero turns out the shape is slightly wrong and the way the fruit stem attaches to the pepper itself is different. I think this is a rocoto but I can't tell for sure. Never can tell what's going to come up in our garden box or where the seeds come from. Sometimes the seeds are from the actual fruit at the grocery store, sometimes from the mothers of my wifes Lao buddies, and sometimes from Laos. (Turns out these were hot peppers sold in a Super Walmart)

Anyway about the blog.

In my explorations of Lao cooking blogs I keep returning to one the same few to read more. Lately I’m intrigued by this one called Lao Cook.

The name itself is indicative of what’s underneath, not that is about a Lao Cook, which it is, but that it’s understated and doesn’t toot it’s own horn. I mean they could just have well called the blog Lao Fusion Haute Cuisine, or “The Most Modern, Avant Guard Interpretation of Lao Food On The Planet”, even Lao Chef, but no, they stuck with the humble “Lao Cook”. Vienne the head of the Lao cook team in keeping with his character calls his food Lao “new style“.

The more I read, the more excited I get in that here for the first time is Lao food not only prepared but also presented in such a way as to take it’s place amongst the finest foods of the world. I used to worry that the flavours of Laos would be lost before they were even known. I’m not so worried anymore.

I knew that the background for the website was a restaurant in Europe, I’d always assumed France, a more thorough reading reveals a restaurant at a very posh Spanish resort.
Bear in mind that normally I am a reverse restaurant snob in that I don’t eat at any place that has a menu, and seldom spend over a dollar on any meal. In Laos I steer clear of all tourist type restaurants. Actually I usually eat either at the market, very small mom and pop foe places or at home and at friends houses who are Lao. Reading the web site and watching the videos makes me wish that I somehow had a table between the kitchen and the dining room so that I could watch the food being cooked and grab some dishes as they go by on their way to the customers out front.

I also saw a link on Lao Cuisine to a video called “Lao Cook TV“, or LCTV. The video was about soured Lao Pork Sausage by LCTV. Som Moo with Alexandra saying "hi" and "by" In the video, I assume it must be Vienne speaking with a pronounced English accent. It has to be Vienne in that the speaker obviously knows Lao food. The video isn’t rehearsed and the speaker understands what’s going on with the break down of the texture of the pork as it’s being kneaded. The video begins and ends with a hello from Alexandra the Lao Pop star. Maybe my blog needs a hello from Paris Hilton or something. Notice though that the background music is classical.

Check out this recipe called Duck, Liver, and Mango

Foie Gras is covered with wafer thin slices of raw Duck Breast, and dressed with Yuzu Sauce that has been heated in Olive and Sesame Oil with some Peppercorns. Shreds of ripe Mango adds sweetness.

Duck, Liver, Mango typifies Mr. Viennes cooking style, background, and attitude. The influence is Lao, with a Euro twist, and a very unassuming presentation. I mean isn’t foie gras not so different than the pig liver pate that is in the baguettes sandwiches? Raw duck in laap is famous in Laos, and the mango is everywhere, especially in April. Mr Veinne could have called this dish many things, instead he chose the simple name to describe it.

If you followed the link you would have noticed that below the duck is some Nahm Dtok, you know that yam called waterfall after the way you are supposed to cook the meat only until the water starts to come out. They use tenderloin. I’ll bet the meat is a lot tastier than the hormone antibiotic feedlot raised beef I’m used to, and much much more tender than those cows in Laos that more resemble goats. The photos make me want to grab a piece with my fingers and and make it disappear.

Below that still is tom yum. Check out the lemon grass. It’s the leafy part. Great for soups, do they sell it that way in Spain? I doubt it. I suspect chef Vienne has a large patch growing out back. Bai kii hoot and kah too.

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