Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A series of mundane days just keep going on with boring working days that take so much from the limited time frame of a married Thuy coi :p And when winter comes, days become much shorter and when I walk out from the office, it’s already dark and I come home with a meal to cook and a home to take care for. Sometimes it frightens me when thinking about a bigger family with kids, busy struggling with little cute evils :p, when I have to share my time for hubby, and how I could manage with a kid of my own.

Last night, hubby and I went over some old stuffs with lots of photos during the last 4 years and I was so scared to see how we have changed over time. I could hardly imagine how it will be in the next 5 or even 10 years from now on when we would possibly smile less and struggle with our wrinkles :p

Still, I couldn’t stop feeling thankful for time without it I couldn’t know how precious things have been, especially when having some time to meet good old friends and chitchat over some coffee or being part of some of their milestone like getting married or having some baby coming up.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Luag Prabang – Part 2: Foods

I have to admit one important reason for me to fall in love with LP is its foods! Like every where I have been, I tried to taste as much food as possible in LP. Laos food is quite like Thai’s for its using of plentiful herbals and spices, for its using sticky rice in every day meals. Bordered by Vietnam and Thailand, Laos food is somehow blended between the two. Luckily, although bordered by China, Laos food don’t show much fusion of Chinese taste, except for the using of chopsticks :D

Laos sticky rice:

sticky rice by Khone - we ate this every meal in Laos by you.

Laap: meat (chicken, beef, pork) salad:

Laos Laap by you.

The most typical and the one I also love is Laos papaya salad. It’s totally different from Thai papaya salad or that of Vietnam. It’s a mix of papaya, eggplants, tomato, garlic, lots of chili, shrimp paste and fish paste, some vendors even add a kind of fruit I cannot recognize what it is, but it tastes a bit bitter and sour but somehow sweet after eaten. The way Laos people make the salad is also unique: they use the pestle and mortar to mix all the ingredients to make all the spices absorb thoroughly to the papaya. This salad is so popular to Laotians (in LP at least since I haven’t been to any other places in Laos except for LP) that a lot of mobile vendors sell this. I have it for almost every meal while I was in LP except for meals in Tamarind since they don’t have this.

Different "versions" of Papaya salad:

papaya salad at Khem Khong

spicy papaya salad - ta daa, very spicy but yummy by you.

LP people must very be proud of their cuisine that they have a salad called Luang Prabang salad. It’s a mix of green salads, tomato, an cucumber with the dressing made of boiled eggs and other stuffs like chili, garlic, etc. I was impressed by the name and how it tasted when Khone made this for our very first lunch then.

LP salad by you.

Tamarind seems to be the iconic tree of LP with old and young tamarind trees everywhere in the town, along the rivers, on the outskirt. It is well reflected in the food as well. A lot of dishes are cooked with tamarind but I love most is the chicken tamarind soup Khone prepared for us for lunch the other day for its tasty sour of tamarind cooked with chicken, the smell of lemongrass and lemon leaves and ginger…

tamarind chicken soup - by Khone by you.

Tamarind is also the name of a Laos restaurant – our favorite in LP. We have at least one third of our meals here and we were kidding that every road leads to Tamarind.

Every road leads to Tamarind :) by you.

Tamarind's by you.

Me skimming the menu at Tamarind:

me skimming the menu at Tamarind by you.

Tamarind's wall photos:

tamarind's wall photos

Cooking stuffs:

Tamarind's stuffs

They don’t have many dishes to choose from but what they do are always the best (except for the bamboo shoots soup – it tastes like Chinese medicine :P – this soup is one of the local populars and we saw the monks ate them in their meals). Tamarind offers the best of Laos cuisine, both authentic and fusion. What I love most here are the drinks. Very typical and stand out of all other places. They pick the most typical fruit, spices to make unique drinks that anyone can fall for.

Tamarind's delicacies: lime juice with lemongrass:

Tamarind's delicacy: tasty lime and lemongrass juice by you.

Tamarind's delicacy: jujube and coconut milk juice - I love this much and have bought a bag of dried jojobe home

Tamarind's delicacy: jujube and coconut milk juice - I love this and have bought a bag of dried jojobe home by you.

Tamarind's delicacy: lemongrass stuffed with chicken:

Tamarind's delicacy: lemongrass suffed with chicken by you.

Tamarind's delicacy: steam Mekong fish:

Luang Prabang's delicacy: wrapped steam fish by you.

Luang Prabang's delicacy: unwrapped steam fish by you.

We also try to taste phở Lào or Laos noodle. It’s a mix of noodle with meat and soup and a lot of raw vegetables. It turns out to be very tasty and we ate it twice in the small vendor in the night market.

Pho Laos seller by you.

vegy with pho Lao by you.

Pho Lao - very yummy by you.

We also fell in love with the noisy food street and night market where roasted chicken, Mekong fish, snails, vegetarian buffet, and a lot of stuffs with very cheap or reasonable prices. Backpackers or even people who don't have any idea of saving flocked to this place to find an ambience that they cannot have dining at luxury restaurants. This is a funny experience that cannot be missed when coming to LP

Fruit shake vendors with a lot to choose:

fruit shake stands by you.

fruit shakes - a lot to choose by you.

Food streets with lots of roasted stuffs:

food street by you.
roasted stuffs by you.

Me buying the durian at night market:

me buying durian at night market by you.

Blurry me in food street :P

blurry me in food street :P by you.

Other stuffs:

Tofu spring rolls

tofu spring roll made by Khone - yummy by you.

Dried meat:

dried pork at Khem Khong's by you.

Fried River weeds

fried river weeds by Khone by you.

Fry hot pot

Laos fry hot pot by you.

Laos fry hot pot by you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Luang Prabang

Actually, Luang Prabang is not our first choice for the late summer holiday. When we couldn’t book the cheap flight to Siem Reap, we decidedly quickly to give it a try to Laos, which is well-known for the laid-back being. And we’re right to make a trip to Luang Prabang, the World Heritage old town in northern Laos. We have felt in love with every little thing that we bumped into in that small town and wanna come back some time in winter, to indulge ourselves in the early morning mist and peaceful alleys and mouth watering cuisines of LP.

Part 1: Falling into LP

We took the 9am flight from Hanoi and just 55 minutes after that we were in LP airport, the ever small one if you can imagine with just a few dozens of holidaymakers/backpackers . There’s only 1 airplane on the air port each time we arrived and departed. this is LP seen from the airplane:

LP from height by you.

LP from height by you.

We were welcomed and picked by Khone’s brother (I cannot remember his so-long and difficult to remember name) who are very gentle and a bit shy every time he tried to communicate with us in English.

Khoun's brother by you.

We took a ride on his old Jeep on the windy and dusty roads to Khoun&Khone Guesthouse, which is around 3km to the LP centre.

K&K by you.

Old Jeep:

K&K Jeep by you.

Lying just 3 km from the town, but Khoun&Khone GH is quite isolated, backed by a mountain and surrounded by trees that Khoun has grown years by years. We are so touched by the greenness of the place which is built by Khoun himself with some help from his friends and family. All the bungalows are made by Khoun, from the wooden beds, clothes hangers, stoned bathrooms to the chairs on the shaded balcony. Everything seems to be peaceful and guests who’re mostly westerners seem to be completely contented.

K&K by you.K&K by you.

K&K by you.

K&K by you.

K&K by you.

K&K by you.

Our hired motocross (white one):

motocross - ours is the white one by you.

K&K by you.

This is our favorite place where we can lazily lye there for a nap, or for a book, or just simply indulge in the heavenly green garden. Our neighbors also love this place. A bold man, my father's age always sat there with his favorite book all the time we met him.

balcony - our favorite place by you.

balcony - our favorite place by you.

balcony - our favorite place by you.

Khoun&Khone are very helpful and hospitable. Khone cooked the early lunch for us with some of Laos delicacies like laap, fried river weeds, sticky rice, Luang Prabang salads… She’s such a good cook that we ate out all the foods.

early lunch cooked by Khone by you.

Hubby went out with Khoun to hire a motocross so that we could go around the town and away. I lay lazily as a cat on the wooden chair on the balcony, looking out the green spaces surrounding me, feeling relief and peace as if I had never felt those before.

After 20 mins, I heard the engine echo from afar and quickly grabbed my bag ready for a ride. We took the country road off to Tat Kuang Si – Kuang Si waterfall. We were caught in a light shower on our way and had to stop by an abandoned house on the roadside near the paddy fields and a pond of water lilies. It rained for a while, shortly enough to cool the air and we were on the road again. The road runs parallel with the Mekong and we can feel the breeze coming up from the river.

on the road by you.

on way to Tat Kuang Si by you.

with our hired motocross:

us and the motocross which was accidentally white and matched with our T-shirt :D by you.

Tat Kuang Si waterfall is a beautiful waterfall around 26km from LP center. People (mostly westerners) love this place very much where they can swim and play some fun things like this:

Tat Kuang Si waterfall by you.

or they can take a look at the bears that are rescued and kept in the Bear rescue center placed in the jungle near the waterfall:

LP bear rescue center by you.

Kuang Si bear rescue center by you.