3 thoughts on “Tam Lao Papayaless Variant”

  1. An awesome reboot, indeed. Very tasty-looking.

    I was telling someone the other day that I knew only the most general things about the SE Asian flavor profile (peanuts, cilantro, soy sprouts, lemongrass, etc.), and that if you placed Laotian, Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes randomly in front of me, I wouldn’t be able to identify which dish came from which country/culture. What would you say are the distinguishing hallmarks of these cuisines? Or is there too much overlap to say anything definitive? (I doubt that: I suspect that there’s some overlap, but also that each of the above countries has something distinctive that counts as a “national dish.”)

    Any enlightenment would be appreciated.

  2. That’s a very hard question because of historically overlapping borders/proximity, as well as occupations. The area I live in now was once part of the Lao kingdom, for instance, so the food and culture is quite similar. But if I had to give a short description of each compared to the others it might look like this:
    Laotian: Sticky rice for every meal. Also, “sweet makes you dizzy; bitter makes you healthy!”
    Thai: More sour, spicy flavors overall. Also more protein overall.
    Vietnam: More vegetables!
    Cambodian: Nobody knows what real Cambodian food/flavors is anymore and it has been heavily Thai-ified.

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