My mother’s family is from Ban Keun. We still have a handful of aunts, uncles, and cousins living there. It is easier to go visit them on the weekend once or twice a month thanks to modern transportation and improved roads. On this particular afternoon, we went to visit a cousin who had recently given birth to a baby girl. It was a good time for me to catch up with her and with other relatives after a year and a half of not seeing them in person.
We decided to have a picnic by the river. The relatives made Tom Kai (Boiled Chicken), Khua Mie (Fried Stick Rice Noodle), and cooked eggs. We ordered two plates of Tam Mak Hoong (Lao Green Papaya Salad) from a food vendor by the Boat Pier.
One plate of Tam Mak Hoong was made using Padek or Fermented Fish Sauce while the other used Fish Sauce with no MSG.
We all sat down to share food, stories, and watch the little ones playing and having a good time with one another. It was nice to digest our food while watching the sunset before heading back to Vientiane.