Wednesday, 4 May 2016

LUANG PRABANG - LAOS – Market Mini-Series

Now that the April A-Z Challenge is over, I thought I would return to my Market Mini-Series for your entertainment.



During one of my South East Asia trips we travelled through Laos by bus. The journey was fairly gruelling, but it did mean we got to see quite a lot of the beautiful Laotian countryside, but I’ll save those details for another post.


Vangvien
Our bus journey terminated at Luang Prabang, a beautiful old city sited at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. 


As we wandered the streets of Luang Prabang I was fascinated by the racks of rice cakes set out to dry everywhere. However, I didn’t sample these cakes because I was slightly concerned about hygiene.



The market stalls were equally fascinating with many foodstuffs and dishes I didn’t recognise. I watched these ladies stuffing lettuce leaves with an interesting range of ingredients. Although I was tempted - the smells from the various bowls were enticing - I decided not to try one of their little parcels because I wasn’t sure about the wisdom of eating salad leaves without knowing how they had been washed. 


These chickens were easy enough to recognise. 
They looked and smelled delicious, but I was a little disconcerted by the volume of flies that she was doing her best to fan away. I also wasn't entirely sure how we would consume a chicken whilst wandering around a market!




Finally, I could resist no longer because one of the joys of travel is to sample the food that the locals eat instead of the homogeneous, bland fare that passes for 'western' or 'international' food which is so often served to tourists. 

So, I bought a stick of sticky rice, and it was as delicious as I hoped it would be. 




I should have known better - rice is notorious for its dangers. I went down with food poisoning and spent two miserable days in bed. Ironic, eh?

It hasn't put me off trying local food - or market snacks - I just have to remember to choose more wisely!






27 comments:

  1. One of things I like most about travel is sampling foods, particularly street food. So far I've got away with it despite eating everything from sheep's testicles to locusts and monkey brains to maggots!

    Visit Keith's Ramblings

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    1. Eeuuw - you're braver than me, Keith! I like street food - but there are some things I'd be too squeamish to try. :)

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  2. After all your caution, I'm so sorry you ended up sick. It is a risk, but what a great trip and lovely picture. I'd have been tempted too!

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    1. Thanks, Yolanda. It can be a bit of balancing act and this time I got it wrong. :)

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  3. Wow, it's a shame you have to "pass" on so many items like that.

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    1. I know! And it turns out I made the wrong choice anyway, despite my caution. :)

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  4. When traveling, you eat at an open market at your risk! Bottle water and sealed bag munchies for me!! :-)

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    1. Ha ha - bottled water, for sure - but you can't live on crisps for several months. :)

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  5. Yup, as non-natives, tourists aren't immune to local bugs. Sorry you got sick. But hey, it *only* lasted 2 days!

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  6. It also taught me a valuable lesson, Bish.

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  7. Sorry to hear about getting sick. Ugh. I am afraid I am very cautious with food when traveling. The nurse in me wants to put everything under a microscope.

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    1. I try to use my common sense about food when I'm travelling, Sue and I have only twice been poisoned quite badly - this was one of those occasions.

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  8. I like to try local food when I travel. Often though I buy it uncooked and prepare it myself as most of the food poisoning type dangers seem to come from keeping food warm after cooking.

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    1. That's often the problem, isn't it? But cooking my own food isn't always an option. I also tend to avoid salads - but it does depend on the country.

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  9. Interesting article, Susan. It is indeed tempting to see all the tasty street food on offer when travelling, which of course the locals consume in volumes with no adverse effects, since their bodies are used to it.

    On our visit to India a few years ago, we were fine eating local food in restaurants (but not from stalls) until we got to the airport to fly back home. We grabbed a Subway before departure and the lettuce had obviously been washed with local tap water (until then we'd been using bottled water even to wash our teeth)I must admit, we were very glad our seats were near the loo! My brother, on a previous trip to Delhi, had been really quite ill (and his inlaws are from there, so you'd have assumed he'd have been well informed!) He lost a couple of stone over the three weeks he was there - so I guess you got off quite lightly, considering!

    marion

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    1. Goodness, that sounds grim, Marion. The only other country I've suffered food poisoning in whilst travelling was India... re-heated chicken in a swanky hotel restaurant was my downfall.

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  10. I'm wondering... is that why the people are all fit and trim... no need for dieting!! :-) Eat street food be thin! :D

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  11. Hah! Maybe! Not the way I'd choose to lose weight though. :)

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  12. Oh man....I'm so sorry to hear that. It would be difficult to figure out what was safe and what wasn't.

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  13. Yes - it's one of the joys of travel, Sandra! :)

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  14. I love being able to try new foods when I travel, but I am also a little apprehensive about falling sick away from the comforts of home! My largest issue used to be finding vegetarian options, but that has gotten better in more recent years. I'm also usually afraid of ordering the wrong thing :D Looks like you had some beautiful scenery to enjoy alongside your food!

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    1. Hi, Tracy - yes, I do think eating local food is part and parcel of travel and there is always an element of risk. Laos was sensationally beautiful and I'm only sorry we didn't spend longer exploring the country - but I will post again about our trip.

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  15. I missed this post! Food is always dangerous but I would have tried the rice cakes and maybe the lettuce thing. I would not try the chicken at all but I would have tried the sticky rice also. You never know with food. My friend, who has travelled to Indonesia for 3 years during the winter months seems to be able to eat anything. He bought a trail mix in a store and was eating it when he bit on something very hard and crunchy. He never really looked at the bag but he did after eating these crunchy bits and noticed what it was...chicken beaks! Yucky

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    1. Ha ha - that's great story about your friend, Birgit. These comments are inspiring me to write a post about some of my eating experiences in other countries! Watch this space... :)

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  16. Oh dear! I was just thinking what a beautiful place. :) Another lesson learned.

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  17. Oh dear! I was just thinking what a beautiful place. :) Another lesson learned.

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  18. All part of the rich experiences of travel, Jo. :)

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