The Boat Landing Guest House, Luang Namtha, Laos

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The Rainy Season Menu

With the coming of the rains many new things sprout from the ground and grow in the forest. Taste of few of the dishes the people of Luang Namtha enjoy during this season.

Bamboo Shoot Soup with Fermented Fish
Variations of this classic Lao dish can be found from north to south. This is not a dish for delicate palates but for those who like robust flavor. This soup has a base of fermented fish thickened with soaked sticky rice then seasoned with lady’s medicine leaves, chili leaves, basil, sawtooth herb, acacia pennata, chili and finally filled out with bamboo shoots and young pumpkin. If you prefer, pork can be subsituted for fermented fish.

Gadawm Gourd Soup
The Gadawm gourd is grown in the mountain fields along with upland rice. When the rice is tall this small slightly sweet bitter tinged gourd is harvested and appears in the Luang Namtha market for just a wee while. In addition to the Gadawm gourd this soup contains basil, garlic and chili. Your choice of pork, chicken or tofu.

Bottle Gourd Soup
The bottle gourd, among the oldest of cultivated plants and cousin to the cucumber, in addition to being a food, is also grown to make bottles and containers.  this soup is served with Basil, garlic and chili with your choice of tofu, pork or chicken.

Stuffed Bamboo shoots
Large boiled bamboo shoots split and stuffed with minced pork or tofu flavored with shallots, garlic, chili, lemon grass, green onion leaves and  ginger leaves. This is a great vegetarian choice for a picnic lunch.

Naw Hian - Green Bamboo Stew
If only we could eat this year round! This rich, filling dish is nutty and sweet and made with sweet Bamboo shoots, lady’s medicine leaves, soaked sticky rice, garlic, shallots, chili, green onion leaves. It is garnished with cilantro, Crispy fried puffed rice, fry roasted shallots.  It can be made with pork but is just as perfectly delicious without.

Tsi Mushrooms steamed in banana leaves
With the rains come myriads of mushrooms. The akha collect the mushrooms and sell them to people in the valley. One of the most popular is the Tsi mushroom or Ahum Tsi in Akha or Het Sa-mawd in Lao. The mushrooms are steamed in a banana leaf with soaked sticky rice, shallots, garlic, chili, green onion leaves, fennel, basil and ginger leaves. Can be made with pork or not, if you prefer a vegetarian version.

Stir Fried Tsi Mushrooms
Tsi mushrooms stir fried with egg, pork or plain. Seasoned with green onion leaves, garlic and chili.

Stir Fried Fiddler Fern
Fiddle Head Fern with garlic and tomatoes with your choice of pork or tofu

Pak La Omelet
Pak La or Acacia Pennata leaves are aromatic. The tree grows in the wild as well as in people’s gardens. It can be a seasoning in soups, but it is best enjoyed on its own merit in an egg omelet.

Giant Water Bug Chili Paste
When the water fills the paddies so do frogs, field crabs and the Giant water bug (Lethocerus indicus). You’d never dream that a bug could taste so heavenly. The perfume from a gland of the insect permeates this chili paste made with roasted chili, shallots, garlic and eggplant. Garnished with cilantro and served with boiled water gourd.

Field Crab Chili Paste
This is the signature Jeow or chili paste of the Kalom, the ethnic group in our village. Field crabs are collected from the paddies and boiled down to a paste.  This is mixed roasted garlic and chili and eaten with boiled bamboo shoots.

Fried Bamboo Borer Moth larva
The hollow sections of the bamboo make the perfect little nursery for this moth’s larva. These fried larva have their own natural oil and taste so much better than French Fries. Probably better for you too. (Available from late August)

Fried Silk Worms
Fried silk worms with garlic. While they don’t compare to the Bamboo borer moth larva, they are a lot easier to find.