Mystery Lunch Day #3: A trip to Laos.

I like it when Efrain picks. It’s a lot less pressure on me, and I’m almost always going to be surprised, and try something that normally wouldn’t be on my menu.

Today I was surprised. And ate some things not normally on my menu.

We went today to the Hmongtown Marketplace. When you first arrive, things are a bit confusing. The front door is to a pharmacy. The side door is also to the pharmacy. Pharmacies don’t have a great selection of food, so we tried the rear side door. We saw purses, watches, DVD’s and a bunch of lotions and soaps.

But BEHIND the stalls of manufactured retail nonsense were some smells. Wonderful smells.

First of all, Mystery Lunch day has always taken place in a restaurant. This was new. The Hmongtown Marketplace is just a collection of booths and stalls each selling weird little foods, soups, and treats. You walk around, buy little pieces here and there, much like a real Asian marketplace. We tried the stuffed chicken wings (carefully de-boned and stuffed with eggroll stuffing. So wonderful), a deep fried whole Tilapia, a sausage, some sticky rice, and some chicken laab (which is a very fragrant mix of lemongrass, chicken, cilantro, onion and other yummy shit). All of them came with a dipping sauce. All of the sauces are spicy as fuck. Be very careful of the dipping sauces. I’m not kidding. But every bite was interesting and delicious. It was a great experience.

In fact, the sauces were so spicy, I had to buy some pineapple/mango/banana bubble tea. Which was perfect, because I wanted to buy some bubble tea anyway, because that stuff is weird and fruity, and I like being a 10 year old sometimes.

There were some things that we passed on. No tripe soup. Or intestine soup. Or cartilage soup. None for me, thanks. Good to know that it’s available for later, but I’m all good right now, thanks.

But we did have dessert. There were these weird little sweet cakes with a creamy sweet middle and a green onion (!) in the center. I don’t know what they were called, but they were interesting, delicious, and perfectly fitted to the theme.

While we weren’t the ONLY white people eating there, we were definitely in the minority, but it was super friendly and welcoming. I highly suggest you check it out. I was to full to continue eating, but not yet done wanting more, so I grabbed some pork Pho to go on the way out. I have no doubt that this will be delicious too…

Today was just fun. It was completely unexpected, culturally interesting, odd, delicious, strange, super fragrant, spicy as hell, and completely outside my box. I loved it.

And, because it’s important, I have to share this with you…

I forgot to check out the bathrooms. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything great. See you next time!

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