So, I’m walking down the main street in Luang Namtha checking out the scene. Every other entrance is a guest house, with a restaurant and trekking, but I’ll talk more about the local economy later. Now, we have more pressing concerns.
Just a few feet south of the entrance to Zuela Guesthouse I pass the entrance to a place called Minority Restaurant. Minority?? I’m offended! I’m appalled!…..I’m hungry.
I’m attracted by the notice on the sidewalk billboard that states they have vegetarian meals. So, I take a look.
sidewalk entrance to Minority Restaurant
I walk down a passageway…
20 meter passageway to the restaurant
…and at the other end I’m greeted by the owner.
“Sawadee” (Hello) Vanxai Inyasone, owner of Minority Restaurant,
I get a good, calm vibe from him, and the place. We chat for a bit. (Vanxai speaks English fluently, by the way) I tell him what I DON’T want in my dishes (MSG, dairy, eggs, meat, seasoning salts, butter, sugar, etc.), and he says no problem. So, I look over the menu and choose a few items.
Whistle a happy tune while I wait.
Get served in good time. (No one else in the restaurant at 3pm in the afternoon)
And prepare to enjoy my first meal in Laos.
Care to join me?
(1) Fried Big noodles & Veggies, (2) Fried river seaweed, (3)Black Mushroom and vegetable soup.
>slurp< >smack< aaaaaahhhhh! All done.
Actually, please don’t take those sound effects literally. Having grown up in a British-influenced society of impeccable manners and meticulously- enforced “proper” eating habits, the worst offense one could commit in my presence is to make noise when one chews. Chewing while talking to me on the phone is another unforgivable transgression in the same category. I’ve disowned friends and even a few family members because of this. (And, I’ll hang up the phone…politely, of course.) It’s a deal breaker for a potential relationship if on a first date, my date slurps and smacks while eating. Yep, ranks right up there with pretty feet as one of the “non-negotiables.” But, forgive me. I digress.
Back to the meal.
It was fabulous! It’s the best meal I’ve had in a long time! (Hmmmm…maybe I should change that line. It doesn’t reflect well on my own cooking, does it?)
I think my plans have changed. I WAS going to spend just two days in Laos and then head back to China. However, the fried seaweed has thrown a random, unexpected element/loop/monkey wrench into my plans.
I think I’ll be staying in Laos just a wee bit longer.
15,000kip for the seaweed
15,000kip for the noodles
15,000kip for the soup
45,000kip TOTAL (approx $5.50US, or 37RMB)
Yep, Minority Restaurant gets five stars from Walt the Wandering Vegan!
You can read more about the restaurant and the reason for the name by checking out the website: http://www.namtha-river-experience-laos.com/our_restaurant.htm
While you do that, I’ll be having dreams of sugarplum fried seaweed fairies dancing around in my head! You think I’m kidding, don’t you? You have no idea.
I know EXACTLY what I’ll be doing tomorrow.