Ant Egg Soup

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 12:00am

Ant Egg Soup

by Natacha Du Pont De Bie

Sceptre $120

Until now, only one English book on Laotian food was available - an obscure volume of recipes from the court of the late king of Laos. When 'food tourist' Natacha Du Pont De Bie learned this, she set about discovering the cuisine from scratch. Travelling around Laos, she feasts on sticky rice, leaves and wild meat. She puts the Laotian people and food at the front of the stage, playing down her own experiences. Her enthusiasm is more attractive than some of the recipes sound. The national dish, laap, is a salad of raw meat or fish, seasoned with paa-dek, a lumpy, opaque sauce made by fermenting raw fish in saltwater for a few months in the sun. Used in almost every dish, paa-dek is so smelly it's kept in a jar outside the house.




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