Food & Drink

Eat Whatever Is Available or Starve

The ancient Lao way

Location: Laos

River eels

Most Americans are far removed from a life of searching daily for your next meal. There was a time when our ancestors lived this way- but today it is nearly unfathomable.

But not in Laos. In the small villages they are hunter gatherers and tend a small garden. Each day they will hunt and their meal will be whatever they are lucky enough to catch. Things you and I might find appalling.


Yesterday we walked through the market and saw some interesting things. Today we went to the same market but this time with a Lao guide who opened our eyes to an ancient lifestyle.

A woman removes the larvae from the cocoon

Some of you might be grossed out by the things we saw. I can already guess who of my regular readers will shutter. But please try to take one thing away from this blog – you are lucky. You don’t worry where your next meal is coming from, so please don’t condemn those who do.


We saw the normal things like rice, peppers, greens, fish and chicken. But then we also saw bats, rats and squirrel. We saw larvae as big as my thumb and ant eggs as small as a rice kernel. We saw eels, live frogs, snails, raven and river seaweed. We

Featherback a popular Mekong fish

saw buffalo skin that is eaten like a snack. We saw tree bark that is cooked for tea and vines that are used for indigestion. And we saw dog.

It’s not easy to see and also not appetizing to our

western palate.  But when you live in a culture that has spent centuries just trying not to starve this is the reality.

Ant eggs

I’m not going to eat dog, rat or bat, although I am pretty willing to try most things.  We tried buffalo the other day and it was wonderful.  I’ll consider buffalo skin…perhaps.

Laos is stunningly beautiful and the people are soft spoken and kind.  It’s such a contrast to loud and hectic Hanoi.  We have only been here three days so far and I know for sure we will need to make

Palm hearts

another trip back here in the future.

Lovely Laos.


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