Ready for Spain

The last couple of weeks I’ve been shopping for essential things for a trip to Spain to visit Vienne and the Lao Cook Team (A Team). I bought a couple of new skirts and tops because I don’t have much summer clothes. Normally the weather in the Netherlands is not that warm so I mostly wear long sleeve shirts and blouses all year round.

Yesterday I went to 4 different Asian grocery stores looking for green papaya for the BBQ party with the A Team. It is very difficult to find green papaya in Spain so I will take a papaya with me or else we won’t have a good BBQ party. A party with no ping kai and tum maak houng is not a real Lao party at all.

I only found one small papaya at a Turkish store. The other two Korean stores that normally stock papaya didn’t have any. The good news is that I can find plenty of Asian vegetables and herbs at a Chinese grocery store. The store owner said the shipment comes in twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday. While looking for some herbs, I saw one of the store clerk putting green pea aubergine from Thailand. They were in a stylofoam box, marked China Airlines. What a global economy we live in Today. Those boxes probably came straight from Bangkok to Amsterdam and to Rotterdam the previous night.

Since everything is open till 21:00 hour today I will go look for a carry-on suitcase. I should have bought one a couple of weeks ago when I saw one on sale. Next week I will continue my hunt for a big fat papaya and some herbs.

A good sunscreen is a must for Spain. On the news the other day, the hottest place in Europe is guess where? Where else but Andalucia. I found the strongest sunscreen from Biotherm for my face and neck.

Biotherm sunblock

I bought a few jars of hard to find ingredients for Lao cooking.

ingredients for Lao cooking

My favorite shrimp paste brand. It’s the only one that doesn’t make me feel nausea after eating it. It doesn’t have a strong aroma either. There is also no bitter taste if you use a bit too much. I couldn’t find this brand in the midwest USA.

shrim paste

Padeak or fermented fish sauce. I don’t normally eat this myself. To have one in the flat will lead to a disaster if one of the students think there is a stink bomb! I have never seen these two food brands before in the US.

Padek

Khi Lek

Khi Lek. This is what my father like to make. The last time I ate this was in the summer of 2004 when we had our Church picnic. A lot of older Lao people like to eat this dish. This is the next best thing to having a fresh stock of Khi Lek on hand. I wonder if you can grow a Khi Lek tree in Spain.

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