Big Tamale on Market Day, Belize

We spent the weeks before the holidays in the far southern tip of Belize. The little town of Punta Gorda sits on the water, and every day travelers and migrants arrive by boat from Honduras and Guatemala. PG, as it is called, is the capital of the country’s wettest region, known as Toledo. It’s also […]

Book Dates! And an Excerpt

A fisherman on the far eastern edge of East Timor. Read about his community in This Way More Better. Dates are very important. Every writer knows this. Every writer I know waits and worries, frets and fusses in a mixed-bag roller-coaster of celebrated anticipation of THE DATE on which her book is published. We want […]

Eating Around: A Visual Food Tour of Phnom Penh

This, my friends, is the market where we used to shop for groceries when we first lived in Phnom Penh oh so many years ago. But I barely recognize the Boeung Keng Kong market today. I remember wooden stalls, mud puddles and mystery stenches. The vendors were generous, and I loved the magnificent arrays of […]

Insomnia, Nostalgia: Notes on Becoming a Food Writer

A sleepless night recently led to reminiscing about becoming a food writer. That story is now in The Faster Times. It recalls my early proposal for an article on a Phnom Penh coffee shop. Gourmet eventually bought that story, but ran only a fraction of the piece as commissioned—all writers understand the constraints of space. […]

100 Years of Honoring Women

A hilltribe woman named Ya totes a basket of meat along a dirt road through rural northeastern Cambodia. Today marks a century since International Women’s Day began. The day has roots in labor disputes amid global industrialization, and the fights for women’s rights to work, vote, hold office and pursue dreams without discrimination. How far […]

Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam

Let me begin with disclosure: this review comes with attachments. I share entangled endeavors with Kim Fay, author of the newly released Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam. Her publisher, ThingsAsian Press, will publish my next two books. And I have contributed essays to Kim’s guidebook series, To Asia With Love. Though Kim and I […]

Bangkok on Fire

A vendor on Thanon Lad Krabang fries noodles for a hungry crowd less than an hour before curfew So much has happened in the past week—our reunion with Shu, the death of our friend Manophet, the eruption of Bangkok—I can’t process it yet. But here we sit, surrounded by concrete walls in a quiet, air-conditioned […]

Obsessions with Plastic

Rice treats, Bangkok Folks, we’re swimming in plastic—literally. We human beings have produced so many plastic bags and plastic gadgets, we’ve tossed so many plastic containers and plastic wraps onto the ground and into the sea, the stuff is turning up in every place it shouldn’t be (look at the contents of these poor creatures’ […]

When the Lights Go Out in Battambang

One night, the lights go out in Battambang, and we are presented with the prospect of candlelight dining. This is a throwback to years past, when generators rumbled through the dark and electricity flickered on and off. We planned a patio dinner anyway; a few flames in the breeze would add ambiance to the meal. […]

This Is How It Is in Bangkok

This is how it is. You land in Bangkok one afternoon when your head and stomach think it’s midnight the night before, and your internal thermometer goes nutso, rising precipitously, quickly, because it’s accustomed to frigid climes. Your ankles swell. Your clothes grow itchy, your hands and feet sweaty, your skin glistened from a damp […]