Food Miles, Southeast Asian Style

Buses stop at the Nam Ou River in Muang Khua, Laos. Tiny town it is, but it sits on a major trade route linking Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. I’ve been thinking a lot about the journeys my dinners endure. The more I read, the more I learn, the more trouble I have shaking the numbers: […]

Season of Thanks & Giving

Shu feeds her daughter, Ngoc Chau, at a dinner with her Hmong co-workers and trainees in Sapa, northern Vietnam. I’m breaking all the rules this week. It’s Thanksgiving, this is a food blog, and I’m not posting a single holiday recipe. Gasp! I know. But the truth is, I’m thinking more about life and less […]

Hemp Milk

It’s not what you think. Well—it is but it isn’t. That is indeed a pretty white glass of milk surrounded by the lovely green leaves of cannabis sativa. Marijuana milk. Pot juice. Call it what you will, but it won’t make you high. Though hemp milk is made from the pulverized seeds of the same […]

Grilled Beef Wrapped in Wild Betel

I got a yen for wild betel in Vieng Xay, in a laid-back local market that sold an assortment of lunch pickings—sticky rice, sour bamboo, tangy dollops of jaeow, spicy little meatballs and grilled buffalo (above, middle, left of the balls) that had been mixed with onions and spices, wrapped in betel leaves and grilled […]

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 […]

Here and There: Two Extraordinary Thanksgivings

Mother of Vietnam, at the Vietnam Women’s Museum in Hanoi. The statue, nearly 12 feet tall, represents strength and beauty among Vietnamese women. She supports her child on the left shoulder and stands as a symbol of motherly love for the country. Happy Thanksgiving, the day after. I had not a moment to post yesterday. […]

The Rosi Recipes #4: Japanese Crusted Tofu with Hmong Accompaniments

It’s true, I’m back at home after a delicious little trip to Costa Rica. As soon as I sort through photos and notes, I’ll tell you about coffee production, gallo pinto, topes and toucans. But right now, it’s time to catch up on a few Rosi recipes and introduce you to a couple of dishes […]

The Garlic Difference

Garlic vendor, Kengtung market, Shan State Do you see these garlic bunches? This isn’t the garlic typically found in American markets. You know what I’m talking about—big, fat Chinese garlic, often sold in little net bags, five heads for a dollar (at least that was the going rate in New Mexico when we left). Cheap. […]

I See the Light

Yes, I really am here. I apologize for such long pauses between posts, but I have 15 poignant reasons: my students. We’re just wrapping up an intense month of reporting on Asia’s booming population of people over 65, and the myriad problems they face. I’ll tell you more about it next week, after graduation. But […]

Assembling Home

Vernal equinox 2008 Many people have asked me what it was like to weed through a life that had been stowed for six years. Six years! Life, locked up and left alone. How did I feel? Mostly I felt sneezy and itchy. In Oregon, six years in a metal room means mold. And mice. And […]