As much as I enjoy the food in the restaurants around town, I also love to cook. So I finally got a stove and some cookware yesterday, and went out searching for raw materials today.
My first stop was the Laos Organic Market.
The Laos Organic makret is some project that is funded by germany or something that encourages the farmers to grow food organically and bring them to the market every weekend. There was a wide variety of items for sale, from organic papayas and mangoes to organic sticky rice and organic “rat’s ear” mushrooms.
My neighbor and I picked up some stuff, including some “Red Tea” from North-Eastern Laos that I am really excited about.
Then, we headed to get some Pho in the Vietnamese neighborhood, with a niced iced coffee.
During our morning jaunt, Ariya (my neighbor) also informed me that the popular “JoMa Cafe & Bakery” that has several branches around town (with delicious but very expensive pastries) it owned by some religious zealots from Canada, and “JoMa” is short for “Jopseph and Mary”. Now that I know this I will of course be referring to it as “Chez Jose and the Virge”.
Ariya dropped me back off at home before he headed back to his office to start working on this idea I am partially responsible for – reusable “Green Lao Now” shopping bags to sell at the organic market, and other places, like the fancy ex-pat grocery store. He’s a graphic designer. It was 9:30 on a saturday morning and I had already accomplished so much, including coming up with a money making scheme to save the environment!! I decided to hit the Talat somethingorother for more produce, where I got the impression that unlike the Talat Sao, they’re not used to seeing white folks around there. However, compared to Dangtokpa in Cotonou, even the local, non-foreigner conditioned market was extremely calm, laid back, and hardly overwhelming. Nobody even yelled at me! I did see a wide variety of produce, a large percentage of which I had NO IDEA what it was or what it was for.
I will admit that I had some trouble finding some items I was hoping to get, namely fresh coconut milk, due to the language barrier. Hopefully I can convince some Lao-speaking person to come with me next time. In the end, I brought home a huge bag of groceries including:
kaffir lime leaves
rice paper wrappers
…and a whole bunch of other stuff I am forgetting, for less than $5.
Now I just need to get some other basic ingredients (salt, oil, etc.) and I’ll be ready to roll.
I took a picture of my house, also:
No, that’s not my bike in front. It’s “decoration” according to the landlord’s sister, and too rusty to be functional. But I like it!