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Published on 13th September 2010
Former VSA volunteer Dorothy Culloty and her husband Kees Sprengers have produced a new cookbook profiling the little-known cuisine of the Lao PDR.
Food from Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook has recipes for 88 dishes featuring ingredients such as chilli wood and snake gourd, as well as more traditional Asian ingredients such as lemongrass, fish sauce and fresh coriander.
Dorothy spent three and a half years on assignment for VSA as an adviser with the Rural Research and Development Training Centre in Vientiane in the Lao PDR, finishing in February 2008. She was accompanied by Kees, a photographer, who has taken the photographs for the book.
Kees and Dorothy in a restaurant in Laos PDR
Dorothy, who now lives in Thailand, has had a passion for the food of Lao PDR for many years. Before her VSA assignment she produced nine postcards of Lao PDR recipes, as well as a Lao PDR and English guide to the vegetables of Lao. In 2002 she began documenting food preparation, ingredients and food anthropology in North Western Lao PDR, a task she continued while she was on assignment.
She describes the food of Lao PDR as the ultimate in “slow food”.
“In Laos, the local fresh markets and forest provide an abundance of local produce, harvested or gathered the same day. ‘Slow food’ is what Lao food is all about – it’s food that is locally and sustainably produced, and always fresh.”
The recipes in the book are based on those made at the Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant, an eco-lodge in Luang Namtha, a province in the north-west of the country.
To find out more or to order copies of the book, visit http://www.foodfromnorthernlaos.com/