One of my favourite dishes remained a roasted eggplant dip called jaew mak khua. While it consistently set my mouth on fire, it had such bursting, bold flavours that I kept going back for more. I just got used to bringing tissue with me to mop up the sweat and tears. (I should have also brought earplugs to drown out the laughter of the locals who found my intolerance to spice hilarious.) In Luang Prabang and Vientiane’s packed food streets or night markets, vendors would set up tables upon tables of dips and spreads and salads in metal bowls. I would pick several of the dips and get a pile of sticky rice to do a giant taste test. No matter where I went, I always swooned over the eggplant.
In Luang Prabang, a fellow traveler told me about Makphet (meaning chili in Lao), a great restaurant in Vientiane employing and educating street kids. Of course, I had to try the roasted eggplant. I was not disappointed.
Let’s get in a little closer: how good does this look? Very very good.