May 31, 2013

Lao Seaweed Snacks

I've always been curious about how this particular snack, made from seaweed, is made.  It's so delicious, healthy and light.  It's often accompanied as a side snack during meals or as just a snack all on its own.
Photo Credit:

May 29, 2013

LLR (book): The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance - Laos Since 1975

Title:  The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance - Laos Since 1975
By:  Grant Evans
Publisher/Year:  Silkworm Books, 1998; University of Hawai'i Press, 1998
ISBN:  9780824820541

May 27, 2013

Character Artwork

Randomly made these one day, out of boredom, years ago.  Surprisingly I found them hidden away in one of my Lao books where some of them I had used as bookmarks.  Just thought I'd share them below.  Do you recognize any of them?

Read below to see what I ended up using these for...

Character artwork from Buddhist mythology
Images (from top center, clockwise):  Temple deity, kinari (kinalee), temple deity, temple lion (seeng), emblem of Lao Ministry of Education, naga (nak), temple bird (hong), temple deity (center image).

May 24, 2013

Driving Through Vientiane - Look at the Changes

If you're curious to see the streets of Vientiane today and how much it's changed along with all the new construction, cars and traffic as compared to the past, take a look at this video.

It's a nice clear video of a guy driving through downtown Vientiane to his home.  It may sound boring.  But for those out there who haven't visited Vientiane in the last 5-10 years, you may be surprised by what you see.  There's a noticeable reduction of motorcycles but lots more cars and lots more paved roads.

Credit:  Video posted by Youtube user tranbylamber

May 20, 2013

New Lao Photo Magazine - Free!

Like these pictures?  It's from an awesome new Lao photographic magazine. It features the impeccably beautiful and engaging photographs of life in Laos, along with some other random photos of international locales.  The majority, if not all, photos are from its stable of Lao photographers in Laos.

What's more, is that the issues are available for viewing online or you can download them for free at their website!  So far they have just 2 issues but this is a wonderful start for them.  Check out the related links below.

From the April 2013 issue:

Buddhist Nun at the Wat Phu Festival.
Photo Credit: Pong Phoonsab,

May 17, 2013

Lao-French Dictionaries and Translation Tools

The list below are just a few current options and resources available today for those who may need Lao and French language tools.

Online Translation of Words

Visit specifically this link where you can translate individual words.  Created by Vincent Berment.  Also you can try Google Translate.

Android App

Android App French Lao Dictionary 5.1 by Bede KeyFor those with Android devices there's an app called French Lao Dictionary 5.1 ($2-3USD).  Created by Bede Key.

May 13, 2013

Lao Photographer Profile: Thanavorakit Kounthawatphinyo

Today we're featuring some photography from Vientiane based photographer, film maker, and webmaster Thanavorakit Kounthawatphinyo with his incredibly eye-catching images from his Flickr account.  In particular we've chosen to show some of his beautiful pictures of Kong Lor Cave and surrounding area in Khammoune province, as well as, a photo from the loy gatohng celebration.

All photo credits below belong to Thanavorakit.



May 10, 2013

The Origins of the Pha Sin

Oh the mystery!  Pha Sin (pronounced pa seen) are the handmade skirts, often made of silk, that are worn by Lao women.  It has an interesting origin story.  Though it's more of a legend I would say.  And whether there's any truth to it, I suppose no one exactly knows.  However, one legend says this...

Beer Lao Calendar Model 2011 - showing Lao textiles
Photo Credit:  Beer Lao Calendar 2011

Reflections on Lao New Year: Why We Call it "Lao" and Where the Year Comes From

Technically speaking it really should be called Buddhist New Year.  Why?  Because for Theravada Buddhism, it is widely accepted that Buddha attained Enlightenment on the year 543 BCE.  It is from that date the Buddhist year begins.  Hence the current Buddhist year 2556 which is equivalent to the year 2013 (that is, 2013+543=2556).  The Buddhist Year is often used in tandem with the common international year on official government documents in many Theravadan countries.  Admittedly, the year of Enlightenment is debateable and somewhat controversial as others believe it to be a different year.

May 06, 2013

Legacies of War - Laos: An Untold Story

American high school student Thu-An Pham along with Toby Fricker and Liem Pham explore the problem of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos and interview people working on the ground to put an end to this painful legacy.

Credit: Video posted on Youtube by Legacies of War

May 02, 2013

The Fabric of Interest

Of all the cultural research books on Laos, one of the most covered and widely written about topics, aside from history books, seems to be those on Lao textiles and fabrics. Indeed there is a lot of interest in the beautiful art form of Lao silk weaving, embroidery and color dying.

Beer Lao Calendar Model 2011
 Photo Credit:  Beer Lao Calendar 2011

May 01, 2013

Lao Stew - Meaty, Veggie, Herby

Those 3 words in the title of this post are how I would characterize Lao stews (orlam).  However just to be more professional I'll say it like this:  Orlam is full of meat and vegetables combined into a stew with deep herbal fragrances, a light touch of padek, and thicken with crushed sticky rice.  It's a staple recipe in every Lao household.  This is certainly one of those must learn recipes for any Lao chef.

Now if that doesn't get you onto it, try watching this video.  Looks delicious!

Credit:  Video by Allan Robertson with Joy Ngeuamboupha of Tamarind Restaurant in Luangprabang.

Lao Words of the Day: Actions and Opposites - Take / Give

Lao Words of the Day:  Opposites - Take and Give written in Lao and English