28 June 2007
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.