By Karen J. Coates / Photo by Jerry Redfern
June 20, 2011
Lao food, to me, is synonymous with summer. Even if it’s not summer when you eat it, the flavors will take you to a warm, sunny day. It’s the abundance of fresh herbs, and the heat of those crisp little chiles. It’s the scent of lemongrass and shallot; and the flavor of smoke.
But mostly, I think, it’s the outdoors—because just about every Lao meal is pounded, smoked, grilled, stewed or even fried outside. And even when it’s not outside, chances are, it’s still cooked over fire, possibly in a little kitchen cubbyhole separated from the sun and wind and rain by just a few wood planks or bamboo slats. And it still smells like the outdoors.
I confess, I’ve been holding out. I’ve had my hands on a couple of Lao cookbooks that have entered the scene in the past year or so—and it’s about time. The country’s varied cuisines simply don’t get enough attention. READ MORE