Food from Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook is the child of the confluence of the skills, knowledge and abilities of these special friends. Dorothy has brought her love of cooking and cookbooks, Kees his photography and Joy her talent for cooking. Pawn and I have contributed our abilities to eat and critique.
My passion for northern Lao food comes from my years of loving association with the people of Luang Namtha. Working and living with the locals found me sharing many a meal in their homes, at celebrations, festivals and as I passed by. Daily life with Pawn and Joy and their families opened up a vast new world of food for me. Joy’s culinary skills and Pawn’s discerning tastes made each meal a delicious adventure. Few outsiders have had the opportunity to explore the foods of northern Laos in such depth. When, in the course of time, we opened The Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant, I knew our guests would want to partake in their own culinary adventures. I wanted more than anything to liberate travelers from the doldrums of the generic fare on offer in tourist restaurants and to enliven their palates with the rich flavors and aromas of local food. I also wanted to disabuse people of the notion that Lao food is but a poor stepchild of Thai cuisine. Laos has a culinary tradition that is vibrant, distinct and unique. It can easily stand on its own and deserves recognition. To help our guests who are limited by time and lack of familiarity, we worked to distill Luang Namtha’s highlights into a menu that presents local cuisine in a way that is easily understood and palatable. This is one of the over-arching goals of The Boat Landing: to present local culture in a way that is accessible.