gustatory exploits · itchy feet cravings

My New Year’s resolution: to eat like a Laotian

I promised myself that before the year 2012 is over, I would write again about my November visit to Vientiane.

Patuxay Park, Vientiane, Laos
Patuxay Park, Vientiane, Laos

It was one of the most memorable events in my life this year. Maybe I ought to write a life recap before the New Year starts, but I felt the need to do this first. Christmas and New Year celebrations remind me of the many times I have to compromise my diet (not that I’m on a diet) but only due to the fact most of the things we eat during the Yuletide season tends to be fatty, salty and heavy.

The onset of the Year 2013 reminded me again of the need to watch the food I eat. My trip to Laos just last month ( brought to mind how it seemed like I was subjected to a crash vegetarian diet.

At first, I felt a little awkward: then afterwards, I realized that my body benefited with Lao cuisine. While in Laos, I was sleeping late at night, we had a hectic schedule  because I was here, after all, to work. But never once did I feel that my body became sluggish nor tired. In fact, I felt light and energized even after drinking the famous Lao beer (the Dom Perignon of Asia?) which I paired with crispy fried pumpkin chips I bought at a night market near Mekong River.

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Laotian people have an affair with greens and fresh food. That’s what we figured out when we dined at one of their famous local restaurant, Kualao Restaurant, where we saw most of their patrons are Westerners. Every dish they serve are fresh, organic, healthy. When I was here, it was easy to affirm my resolve to aspire to eat healthily.

Because Laos shares borders with Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, and China, their cuisine is largely influenced a lot by their neighbors. But what makes Lao cuisine distinct, in my opinion, is their preference for vegetables over meat.

I like rice, that’s why I was drawn to eating their famous “sticky” rice. A couple I know who relocated to Thailand and is traveling to and from its border to Laos, told me how the locals eat their red brown rice. They pick a portion with their fingers, roll it on their palm until its sticky before they put it in their mouth and pick a viand.

I balked at the idea of doing it myself. But I guess, each country has a different culture which we ought to respect. And I’m amazed that Laotians are disciplined eaters. They were the ones who are surprised to find us enjoying more meat to which I agree, tends to be unhealthy.

Now, I have something to add to my New Year’s resolution for 2013: that is, to strive to eat more fruits and vegetables this time around. Like the Laotians, I’d put in meat from time to time but I think I can handle fish and seafood meat once a week. There’s nothing wrong with putting a premium to your health as a healthy body, mind, spirit and soul is an investment of a lifetime.

I think 2013 is a good opportunity to go back to the basics. That is in fact the best thing we could do to our tired, worn-out, stressed bodies that have been battered by a series of deadlines, meetings and activities at work and home. But the best thing, I believe, is still to thank God for granting us health, for loving us and reminding us to take some time to nourish ourselves and love the life He gave. 🙂


2 thoughts on “My New Year’s resolution: to eat like a Laotian

    1. I think the best way is still to eat in moderation and exercise. I lack the discipline to eat healthily but after looking at how the Lao people eat, going semi-vegetarian isn’t such a bad idea. you can still enjoy eating chicken, pork and beef meat all in moderation. but eat more fruits, veggies, fish and other seafood.

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