My fiancée and I have had a crazy life. We met through work while she was in Ireland and I in Canada. It was love at first sight. We’ve spent 6 years living from visa to visa. We planned on staying in Canada, but her father unexpectedly passed away so we decided to move back to Ireland to be closer to her family. We left everything, quit our jobs, and moved countries for the 6th time in six years.
We’d always talked about our honeymoon – explore SE Asia for as long as possible. We decided it was time; and even though we’re not married yet, we took our honeymoon! 9 and a 1/2 weeks backpacking SE Asia, starting with Kuala Lumpur, up through southern Thailand and into Bangkok, then worked our way north. This is where we crossed over into Laos and took an extraordinary two day trip down the Mekong, stopping in at Pak Beng and being introduced to our first Laos meal. Amazing goat curry and larp – a succulent combination of minced pork and various herbs and vegetables. How can you not fall in love with a cuisine that has a MEAT SALAD?
We then landed in Luang Prabang. It’s impossible to use words to describe the gorgeous, tranquil and spiritual nature of one of the oldest cities in Laos. Nestled in a remote valley where the Mekong meets the Nam Khan, it’s kept its traditions throughout the centuries. While exploring we saw signs for the Tamnak Lao cooking classes and signed up! Our teacher Phia Ya, who owned this restaurant for over a decade, took us through four dishes, including Tom Chaeow Pha which was the standout! He detailed all of the ingredients, while teaching us all about Lao people, their culture, traditions and how almost all of their celebrations and gatherings centre around food. The wild combinations of taste in Tom Chaeow Pha is unique and sings everything that is Luang Prabang. It truly represents the people of Laos, and their love of food. We finished our trip by seeing Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Dreams can be real, and great memories!