Ok, so you’ve all read how much I loved the deep fried river weed in Vientiane and Luang Prabang (twice!) right? Well when I read that there was a restaurant in Vang Vieng serving deep fried MULBERRY leaves, how could I resist???
That’s right, the Vang Vieng Organic Farm grows mulberry trees, according to their website “using strictly organic methods. These traditional methods of farming are being lost in Laos, as they have been lost in much of the world. We are training local villagers to use sustainable, natural methods to produce food and fiber for themselves and for sale. We use natural fertilizers, organic mulch, and native lizards and toads to control insect pests. When the mulberry trees are large enough, they are pruned to a good working height. The resulting trees produce clean, high quality leaves that we can use in our silk and tea production. The leaves are hand picked each morning and processed to make tea, or are fed to the silk worms to produce silk.“
They also produce mulberry wine – so seriously, there was no choice but to go and investigate!!!
Our companions, Rick and Sue (the shake maniacs!) ordered what else but a mulberry shake:
Neil, of course, couldn’t resist the mulberry wine. Suspiciously looking like Ribena…
Yeah, he struggled his way through it (“blog research” I believe he called it!) but later ordered a mulberry shake – for Neil to order a non-alcoholic drink at dinner is nearly unheard of so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions from that….
For dinner, well, I didn’t want anything too spicy or weird so I “just” ordered the said mulberry leaves to start:
I then ordered some spring rolls. These, like the laap, became a sort of standard order every time we went out – someone would order them and we would compare them to other orders of them. These ones were out of this world…
Since I wasn’t that hungry (and hadn’t been expecting ten billion spring rolls), I also ordered some pumpkin soup (you know how sometimes you just want a bowl of soup?) and bread.
This is what I got:
Of course I did not finish all that food but it was a lovely change for one night. I love Lao food and actually still miss it (we both do – hence the pho hunt a couple of weeks ago) but this was really a stunning meal. Fresh, local ingredients and a farm that benefits the local population – who could ask for more? Highly recommended if you are ever in Vang Vieng and can tear yourselves away from tubing down the river (errr… yeah, right. Not!)