A spicy Hmong feast

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24 July 2010
Day 17 – Village at Km 52

Today we visited Cheng’s and Yearh’s village about 50 km outside of Vientiane capital, where they were going to cook traditional Hmong dishes for us.

We left early, joined by another two students from Makphet who were going to join us for this cooking adventure.

Yearh and Cheng were already waiting for us and had everything well set up (which was excellent to see from a chef’s perspective).

They were going to prepare a selection of dishes that would normally be served at a Hmong wedding. I was glad it was not real wedding feast because I have been eating far too much on this trip.

Here is the Hmong menu:

– Boiled chicken with black pepper and herbs (such as coriander and green onions)
– Hmong style chicken soup
– Eggplant dip
– Mushroom dip
– Chili dip
– Pumpkin flower and mushroom soup
– Pumpkin soup
– Steamed rice

Since Cheng and Yearh were working  in their own kitchen, the cooking process was really fast, extremely efficient and they worked really well in a team. The kitchen set up was very humble and I am always so impressed to see how much more creative people are in humble surroundings.

The food was really delicious and despite what I had been told in other parts of Laos, I was surprised to discover that the Hmong really do eat spicy food.  All three dips had a real kick to them. I was informed that they use chili but they will not eat Phatek (fermented fish sauce).

All their dishes are just seasoned with salt and black pepper, or no seasoning at all.

The pumpkin soup was just simply boiled in water without anything added to it. It tasted a little like a dessert, but it really helped to put out the fire in mouth, which was burning after eating the dips.

My favourite was the mushroom dip because the mushrooms were not cooked and I really liked the texture and the flavor of it. I have never had anything like this before.

We all had a great lunch there and many of the children came to look at the funny Farangs (us foreigners).

Many families in this village are part of the Peuan Mit project, working with us making some lovely products that we then sell in our shops in Laos and internationally.

That was the end of our visits to the provinces, but we’ll keep getting more recipes from Vientiane on our next visit in August.

But don’t worry, I will keep writing the blog because there is still a lot of work to be done on the book! Please keep on checking in on us and if you have any questions and comments please contact me anytime. We are happy to hear from you.

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