You might remember a few months ago, when I went to the Women in Travel Summit and then raved about how great it was, particularly because I got to meet so many other inspiring women bloggers? Well, one of those amazing bloggers was Darlene, who is currently cooking a meal a week from every single country in the world, going alphabetically, over at International Cuisine. As soon I heard about her project, I was so intrigued! After speaking with her, and pulling up website on her phone (because I had to know more right away!), I found out it’s not just a dish or two. No, Darlene cooks on average 6-7 dishes per country, and also researches the country’s history, current political situation, and so much more. It’s a full course meal and an education on a country every week!
Darlene kindly invited both myself and Jen from World on A Whim over so that we could try a new cuisine. Darlene is currently cooking through the ‘L’s and we got treated to a delicious Laotian meal! This was perfect, as it means that I’ll be able to cross off number 29 on my 101 in 1001 list, try a new cuisine!
The menu was extensive, as you can see from both the photo above and the menu below. The sticky race is the national dish of Laos, and Darlene explained to us how to grab some, roll it into a ball, and dip it into the eggplant dish. It was soooo very good! My other favourite (although, truly, everything was so delicious!) was the Laab. I seriously could not get enough of the spicy, slightly sweet, and crunchy beef salad.
Being able to see behind the scenes of a food blog was such a neat experience as well! Darlene’s husband, Dan, takes many of the photos for the site, and I loved learning about the evolution of their photos. They also gave us some great tips for staging photos.
After we ate, Darlene gave us a tour of her gardens, which are extensive! I was so impressed with all the fresh produce she can grow since she has such a large lot. She said it definitely helps when she’s picking recipes to have some things growing right in her backyard. Darlene and Dan also have chickens, and let this city girl go in and gather the day’s eggs! We were sent home laden with leftovers, a bamboo plant for good luck, and even a few fresh eggs!
In general, if you enjoy spicy Southeast Asian food, then you you will adore Laotian food. Darlene is such an amazing cook, but even if you attempt to make them at home like I will be, her recipes are super easy to follow! You can see her post about this meal, as well as all the recipes, here. If you want to see Jen’s take on the meal, you can read her blog post here.
Thank you so much Darlene for inviting us!! I look forward to reading about the new country and the new dishes every week, so getting to experience it live was extra-special. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit Darlene’s website, www.internationalcuisine.com, and sign up to receive her weekly emails so that you never miss a new country. Now, who’s hungry?!