28 June 2007

Lao stew

My housemate went to some night markets and bought $3 worth of food sufficient to feed 3 of us last night. He bought the most interesting dish ever. It was green, resembling creamed spinach. When I tasted it, it was very bitter and rather unpleasant. There were small pieces of hard buffalo skin in it. For fear of eating some kind of bile that volunteers have tried, I stopped. When my Lao language teacher came we asked him what it was. In the three Lao words he said, my housemate recognized the middle word meaning ‘s**t’ (my workmates are polite and proper so I don’t know such words). Keeng Khii Lek- the other words translating to soup and iron. We feared the worst but actually our teacher explained that the bitterness came from the wood of a tree. If I saw food at home with the word s**t in it, I would stay well away, but scarily does not seem that unusual here. My housemate said there’s a pastry thing that translates to ‘cat s**t’. There are few dishes we’ve eaten here that just has chunks of wood in it for flavouring and usually it doesn’t taste that good. Later I offered it to my cat and even the useless whingeing thing refused to eat it.


Anonymous said...


I’m surprised you haven’t run into the word khii before, or maybe you have and didn’t use recognise it out of context. It is used many ways to add a negative connotation to a word, such as khii neeow (stingy), khii lock (thief) and so on.

In this case I’m not sure why it’s used with the Bai Khii Lek tree. Bai means tree or wood. I’ve never heard of the wood itself being used, only the very bitter leaves and suspect that is what you ate. Any chance you could post more about insect eating?

T said...

Thanks for your comment. My Lao language is still very limited- I relied on my language teacher to tell me what I was eating and what it meant!

I haven't eaten any insects lately, just haven't come across them but haven't been looking out for them in particular either.