I post this picture today in honor of Valentine’s Day, my husband and the animated life we have created together. I know he’s missing travel as much as I am right now, so here’s a little reminder. This is about the biggest noodle soup we’ve ever encountered, anywhere. It’s served with a smile at the Simmaly Restaurant in Phonsavanh, Laos, near the Plain of Jars. Yes—that is a whole basket of lettuce, a full clump of cilantro and two limes accompanying a mountain of noodles with hot broth, crisp green onions and the best darned smoky-spicy chile sauce in town. We’ve been eating this soup for almost as many years as we’ve been visiting Phonsavanh. The Simmaly is where we’ve shared many a breakfast with expats before heading into the dusty countryside, and then again at night to down a few beers after an aching day on the road. You’ll never pay more than a few dollars for dinner at the Simmaly. And you may never make your way through that whole bowl of foe!
Happy Valentine’s Day!