Here’s an idea of one of my common breakfasts in the morning. On the left is 2,000 LAK worth of rice. Wait what the hell kind of rice is this, that doesn’t look like gold. Well, LAK (Laothian Kip) is the currency here. I have a few problems with this…
Yes, here comes another rant: first off, in the 10 months here I haven’t heard one single person use the name Laothian. Okay, that’s wrong because I asked my colleagues about it and they probably used the word in the answer. BUT, the crazy part is that they said it’s said here. Maybe it’s just a Luang Prabang (the city I’m in) thing to not say it. Or this is raising an interesting point about my selective hearing. However, I have heard some Thai people use that, but that’s not a good point of reference because they’re about as interested in the Lao culture as Americans are in the Native American culture. They know it’s there and they live in or next to it, but it ends about there. Secondly, the word is pronounced “Geep”, exactly like saying Jeep with a hard g sound. Like so many other times English comes up, especially in my job, Laothians (I didn’t hear that!) will just make up their own pronunciations for English letters and there’s no effort to standardize their own version, even if it’s different from the one in the US. That’s one of the ways for their culture to keep its strong hold over preserving the Lao language and not ending up with some Langlish dilution. In turn, it just confuses foreigners who don’t want to learn the actual pronunciations and everyone who tries to use English to describe Lao vocabulary. You can tell my blood boils when people keep making the same mistakes and confusing each other with out asking a few questions “across the lines”.
Wow, I’m not even sure where I am in the story anymore. I also don’t even know if this is worthy of calling a story, but that’s never stopped me. The rice doesn’t have a shiny yellow tinge because even though 2,000 seems high in any currency, it’s only about 25 Cents. Then to the right of that there’s something called “Mok Ba”, which means fish Mok. I don’t actually know what the Mok means and judging by the look of it, I don’t think I want to know. I do like the fish part though, so I’m all over that. That’s only 5,000 KIP (8,000 is a dollar, incase you forgot how to multiply by four). And then a little piece of sausage, to even the whole thing out to a total of 10,000 KIP.
For just over a dollar, I can eat golden rice, mystery fish, and animal intestines, fried into a casing of who knows what. I should really write for a food blog, shouldn’t I? But really, it’s delicious and it fills me up to lunch, so this is one of my weekly choices to start my day.