Note: This post contains photos that may be considered gross by some people. Be careful when scrolling down.
The Laos side offered some attention-grabbing culinary adventures. Culinary is probably not the best word to use in this case but right now, I can’t think of anything else. I guess you get my point. There were some unusual things to eat.
I will let you take a look at the next picture. I bet you can’t guess what some Laotian women were offering to tourists.
If you said beetle, you are really close but not completely right. The little balls you saw on the picture are made of elephant dung. The insect next to them is called elephant dung beetle. These insects live and eat among the dung. They also put their eggs there. So, the ladies at the entrance of the DonXao area were offering elephant dung larva.
I know this is gross. My intention is not to disgust you with horrific accounts. This was part of my travel experience and I am all about sharing stories and accounts from different parts of the world. By telling this account, my intention is not to mock this part of Laos or assume the typical position of how some people can sell something so nauseating. Because they have to be barbaric or behind time to eat and sell something like that. Those living in developed countries cannot understand how there are people in the world who eat insects and other “unusual” food. If we travel to such faraway lands like Laos, we should try to understand why people do things different. Travel gives us the opportunity to learn, to understand.
First of all, what we consider normal or common to eat does not necessarily have to be considered normal in another country. Remember that culture, weather and other situations have a huge impact on how people on other parts of the world behave. Additionally, in a country were job opportunities are not knocking on your door, you have to find ways to make a living. These ladies sell each larva for about 10 cents. They offer this “product” because they know somebody is going to buy it (tourists or travelers). In this case, they work with what they have in order to support their families. And this is how I see it, people working for their loved ones.
My husband couldn’t resist trying at least one of the larvae. Another guy on our group was the first to try it. My husband asked him how it tasted. The guy answered: “Totally rotten”. That assertion didn’t stop my husband from trying one. Actually, I wasn’t around when he tried it. The guy who tried the treat first, took pictures while my husband devoured the thing. My husband is one of those guys who like to try everything. He says he is not going to miss any edible offering while being so far from home.
Then, there was the snake or scorpion liquor. For what I was explained, the animal is placed alive in a bottle and then the container is filled with the liquid. The resulting beverage is said to be aphrodisiac. The bottles were everywhere. It wasn’t the more pleasant situation for me. I hate snakes and seeing one every time I turned my head was a thousand lights years away from my idea of fun. I am even nervous right now while typing this.
Overall, it was an interesting visit. I don’t consider this a proper visit to Laos. I hope to do a more extensive visit in the future. People there were really friendly and polite. Of course, the kids stole my heart.
While returning to the Thailand side, we were able to admire the sunset from the river. Well, not every day you have the opportunity to observe the sunset from the Mekong River while surrounded by three countries. A magical ending for a fantastic day.