1 local Lao chef with English good enough for jokes
2 large BeerLao, cold
4 Germans, 2 Canadians, 1 Texan living in Spain
40 stems of lemongrass
1 bottle of fish sauce
1 jar of local fish sauce (the stinky one per Chez Joy)
1 gangal root never seen before (like ginger)
A pinch of salt
A pinch of MSG just because
1. First go to fancy restaurant in the morning where you will find other farangs (white people) dropping hundreds of thousands of Kip.
2. Pile into tuk tuk where you and the other farangs inconspicuously follow Chef Joy speaking English to explain the local herbs while locals stare at us taking pictures of pineapples.
3. No stopping for questions in the meat section of the market. It makes the vegetarians queasy, and most carnivores too. So know in advance the thing you don’t recognize is congealed blood, and yes, they do sell pigs faces as an offering to the spirits or the base of a stew.
4. Pile back in with your friends to an elegant courtyard school and begin making sticky rice, while using the pestle to pound out an eggplant amuse bouche.
5. Pestles up again for the rub for a fish. Then practice origami banana leaf folding which you have hopefully secured well for steaming.
6. Mix kaffir lime leaf, basil, peppers, lemongrass, garlic and buffalo meat. Buffalo blood and tripe optional toppings for this dish known as Laab.
7. Make cages out of lemongrass for deep fried chicken meatballs.
8. Eat drink and be merry!
9. Top with mango sticky rice.