“Lao chicken, qu’est-ce que c’est?” If the Talking Heads had ever visited Laos, this is what they would have sung. Please allow me to clarify.
Two days ago, we made it to the remote village of Ban Kongor, whose main attraction is a 7km long cave, only accessible via the river that runs through it. Quite spectacular indeed.
Since we also wanted to make some treks in this area, we took a room in the lovely guesthouse near the lake called “Enjoy Boy”. This is Laos not Thailand dear readers. Enjoy Boy simply refers to the youngest son of the owner, who is called Boy. If you were hoping to read a story about some promiscuous place, you will have to wait another week, when we plan to make it to Bangkok.
But I digress, back to chickens now. For the past 24 hours, the owner has been telling us how good the Lao chicken tastes. That sounds something like “Lao chicke goo. Noo bee. Thailaa noo haa. Sainaa noo haa.”
We interpret this as, “the Lao chicken tastes good, it is not big, Thailand and China do not have such nice chickens” Then again, it could also mean something entirely different. We decide the best way to find out is to order this highly recommended animal, “Could we have Lao chicken tonight?”
“Aaah, Lao chicke goo. Thailaa noo haa, Sainaa noo haa,” our local host repeats, then adds, “make tonigh”.
So, around 6pm, hungry from cave dwelling, we make our way to the terrace restaurant.
The owner and cook has spotted us immediately, “plea wai 30 minu”
That offers us a good opportunity to drink a first Beerlao.
Sure enough, a half hour later the cook returns. Not with a chicken, but with a wood stove aka BBQ. This, he fires up painstakingly slow with tiny kindle. About an hour later, we have something of a red glow on the embers. Time for the big finale: the Lao chicken roast. Out comes this bowl with one wonderfully marinated chicken thigh. With a lot of skill and even more patience our host roasts this golden nugget for about one hour. Then the host’s wife joins the party, and the four of us feast on the Lao chicken thigh.
All the while, we keep on playing back the Lao chicken tune, “Lao chicke goo. Noo bee. Thailaa noo haa. Sainaa noo haa.” So true!