11 July 2010
Day 4 – Luang Prabang
Ghislain started the day earlier and got up at 5:30 am to take some more photos of Luang Prabang town. The morning light is great for taking photos.
We all then met Joy and his wife Caroline, the owners of the Tamarind restaurant and cooked two very delicious local dishes.
One was Pork and Herb stuffed Chili Peppers steamed in Banana Leaves and the second was a steamed Vegetable Salad with Phatek and Sesame Dressing. Phatek is a Lao version of a fish sauce but with a much stronger smell and flavor. It’s delicious. Both dishes were excellent, even though our cooking teacher, Madame Vone and Ket thought the dishes were tomatha, which means average. Ket explained that the reason why they thought they were just average was because they were not spicy enough! Joy the Lao chef was very helpful and gave us great advice on the local food.
We had a very early lunch and then went to meet a lady who runs this tiny but lovely Kao Soi noodle shop. Her soup is absolutely delicious and we really want to include her recipe and do a story on her for the cookbook. Initially, she was not so keen but we managed to win her over with our charm! We spent half the morning with her taking pictures and getting her recipe for the soup.
We then decided we need to go and see the Pak Ou caves which are about 30 km outside of Luang Prabang. The caves are located on the foothills of the mighty Mekong River and after a short boat trip we arrived there. On the way we stopped at a local grilled meats shop and bought some sausages, spicy dips and heaps of rice so we could have a picnic there.
The caves have 4000 Buddha statues and it has a real magical feel when you first walk in.
I am glad we went, but I was hoping that there would be some street venders selling snacks and sweets. I guess it is low season and the only items for sale were some trashy products and coconut plates and bowls.
The Pak Ou village had this real lovely old Pagoda and I think we were able to take some very nice pictures there.
We arrived back around 6 pm and had hoped to catch up with one of Makphet’s graduates who is now working in a restaurant there, but were unable to.
Tomorrow we start our journey to Xiang Kuang province to meet four former students from Makphet and of course to find more local delicacies.
We will also be meeting up with Bouavone, our reintegration team leader and we will do a story about her work with the children and youth from Peuan Mit. I think it will be great for the book.
I don’t know if we’ll have internet access, but we’ll be back in Vientiane on Friday and I’ll update you more then. We then will leave for the south on Saturday morning for some more adventures.