An enchanting aroma was carried along the floating breeze. It was early, but late by VTE standards. The neighbours where cooking, selling and talking. Looking at my watch I couldn’t believe that it was so early, by European standards, the aroma should have been Bacon and Eggs. But it wasn’t. It was a tantalising scent that reminded of my childhood, of days long ago.
Thinking: These guys have been up way before the crack of dawn and have cooked, with gusto and flair, it is only fitting that I should rise from my bed and pay homage to their efforts.
I have to admit, I am not really a “Morning” person, but when in VTE, you do as everyone does. Enjoy life. Eat.
Hmm, what do we have here? Let us take a closer look.
Now there is something that you don’t see in the Supermarkets often. A nice piece of Tongue, Stomach and other lovely things.
Americans call them “Variety Meats”, or on some packaging “Mechanically Collected Meats”, in the EU we know it as “Tripe”, or “Offal”. No matter what you call it, I love it.
In Spain we have “Menudo”, a hearty stew of Offal with Chorizo and loads of fat, it is in essence, The Winter dish, heavy, filling and (excuse the pun) gutsy.
I don’t know many Laotians that would say NO to a fine piece of Tripe. Cooking methods depend on the piece in question, but gentle simmering and perhaps a short grilling will bring out the best flavour and texture.
Some may frown upon such delicacies, but let me tell you, there are worse things in your everyday Sausage or Pâte.
After a very filling breakfast, a gentle stroll in the Morning Market, especially to the smokey Food Section. Here a kaleidoscope of smells and sights mingle with the hustle and bustle of the remarkable market. It would not pass a Hygiene Test, but hey, neither would some of the food on offer. But the offerings are sincere and tasty. People of all ages are seated on small stalls, eating their spicy offerings, the rhythmic tone of the Pestle and Mortar signal the arrival of a Tum Mak Hung, so red with Chillies you would think that it the Lao were Sadomasochist.
The smell of grilled fish is a calling card for a small “Tapas”, that would comprise of some Dried Squid, or Air Dried Marinated Beef, or perhaps a small bowl of Noodles with Chunks of Blood, hmmm yes…that will do nicely.
They say that “Time flies when you are having fun”, and it is all too true when in VTE. We miss her.