Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week, we jetted off (in our hearts and minds) to Southeast Asia, specifically the country of Laos. When I picture SE Asia, I picture white sandy beaches and turquoise oceans. That mental picture, however, does not represent Laos, which is a landlocked country known for its mountainous terrain. Check out this detailed article about travel in Laos:
It was easy to choose which dish to cook this week. The national dish of Laos is Larb (or Laap or Laab), which is a ground meat salad. In Laos, Larb is primarily made with pork. We don’t often cook with ground pork, but when we do, we love it. We had a similar dish in a HelloFresh box once that really opened our eyes to how delicious (and affordable) ground pork is.
We learned about Larb from this Wikipedia page, this Discover Laos article, this Explore Laos post, this Laos Travel post, this hotels.com post, this Migrationology post, this Culture Trip post, this 12go.Asia post, and this Trip Savvy post. We followed this recipe:
This dish was fast and easy to make, plus it’s super clean and healthy. We started by toasting some rice and grinding it into a powder, which I suppose thickens the meat salad a little and gives it a toasty/nutty flavour? Then we added all of the ingredients, which included fish sauce, chillies, and fresh cilantro and mint, to the pan.
You won’t usually hear ‘meat salad’ and ‘fresh’ in the same sentence, so I guess you heard it here first. This meat salad is so fresh and so delicious. We served our Larb with lettuce leaves and white rice. I even put a little extra effort into my plating this time around. We really enjoyed this meal and can’t wait to make it again.