Well, it’s proven a little harder to get blogging in than I anticipated. Work has kept me pretty busy (see a post I wrote about the fish passage conference I attended on the FISHBIO blog). but that’s the whole reason I’m here, after all, so I can’t complain too much. I will try to get a little better about more frequent updates, or at least sharing some photos occasionally.
The biggest development of the last two weeks is that I now I have a roommate! My boss’s niece Jacque is fresh out of the Peace Corps and is staying here until December while she, among other things, diligently studies for the GRE (I’m really impressed by her focus!). She’s also been a lifesaver in helping with data checking for a big FISHBIO project that is one of my many time consuming activities here. It’s been really fun to have someone to explore Vientiane with, eat with, and of course, do dance aerobics with! Jacque even has a blog of her own.
Here is a sampling of some of the food I’ve experienced or tried to make in the last few weeks. I am quite proud of my Thai basil bruschetta, but probably one of the best dishes I’ve had recently is the pad thai above. Lots of vegetables! I’ve also given in to fried food cravings in the form of fried rice and crispy spring rolls – although I’ve tried to compensate by making a few fresh spring rolls of my own. I know many people back home who are all about making these rolls, but this is my first attempt. When the raw ingredients, especially the herbs, are so abundant, it’s hard not to give it a try!
My co-worker Sinsamout’s mom was so kind and even gave us some Vietnamese-style dumplings wrapped in banana leaves that she made herself! It’s delicious and reminds me of home – called bánh giò (thanks, Cô Khanh!)
I can’t remember the name for it (banh something – someone help me out!). It has meat and mushroom filling inside. Very tasty, and I was able to decently wing the fish sauce dip that Sinsamout advised me in making! I was also thrilled to rediscover the canned drink called coconut freeze that I fell in love with during my brief visit here last year (when I won a can as a prize in a carnival game!). The drink is coconut juice with sweet chunks of coconut meat mixed in – it’s so delicious, I need to figure out where to buy it in bulk!