There are more people, than not, who have no idea where Laos is, or that it was it’s own South East Asian country. Washington, DC, the Nation’s capital, is one of the most diverse cities in our beloved country, and populated by a strong number of Laotian Americans. Just like our people, the flavors in our food and dishes are unique, yet our food sometimes get lumped in with Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese food.
Why is that? When people think of Thailand, they think of central Thailand. This is because the country is popularized with tourism, movies, news and other media outlets. So naturally you envision this when you eat Thai food. But did you know about Isan people? Isan is the northeastern region of Thailand, which borders Laos. This land was once part of the Lan Xang (Lao) Kingdom. But through a forced “Thaification” the land is now part of Thailand (1).
As governments rise and fall, borders are redrawn, but the people, the culture, the food remain the same. Here they speak Isan, which is a dialect of Lao. They eat thum marg hoong, they eat sticky rice with their larb, and they like their food spicy! Central Thailand were introduced these delicious, savory, spicy dishes from Isan(2), made it their own and share it as part of their culture, and now their menus at Thai restaurants in America! So yes you are enjoying Thai food, but when you see these menu items, you are actually getting a taste of Laos and didn’t even know it!
Now that you do know, and was introduced these flavors through well known restaurants, we encourage to taste more of Laos!
Chef Seng stands proud of her culture and her food. She’s not only sharing her delicious culinary expertise with us, but also knowledge. She wants to educate anyone who is willing to learn, about the traditional dishes and flavors that represent Laos’ strong heritage. She encourages you to find out what makes Lao food special and hope you will share that with other people and spread the word! Use #laofoodmovement or #laotianfood #laofood whenever you take a snap of real Lao food, so people know!
It’s not just food, its a movement!
Use #laofoodmovement and join in on spreading the word!
(1) Wikipedia: Isan