I apologize for showing you delicious food that you can’t have unless you’re in Laos, but it’s an interesting food and you should have it if you’re ever here. This riverweed is a special kind found in the Mekong near Luang Prabang. It’s dried there with sesame seeds and sometime tomatoes and garlic.
The sauce (cheo) is also from Luang Prabang. It is a spicy/sweet dip with chunks of water buffalo skin in it. The skin adds flavor, but you don’t have to eat it. I tore some riverweed into squares and toasted it for five minutes before we ate it dipped in cheo bong (pronounced with a long O). I realize this all sounds pretty gross at first but it is one of my favorite snacks.
Ah! I found a recipe for Cheo Bong! I haven’t made it though so I can’t promise anything.
oil for deep-frying
1 garlic head, peeled and sliced
10 long red dried, roasted in a dry pan until aromatic and then seeded
4 galangal (Lao root) slices, chopped
3 T dried shrimp, soaked in warm water and groung
3 T sugar
4 T fish sauce
2 oz. (50 g) boiled pork skin, finely diced (There is a note saying this is available in Asian food shops. Maybe water buffalo skin isn’t available! Our dip actually has pretty big slices of skin, so I wouldn’t worry about finely dicing.)
1. Heat the oil and fry the garlic until golden brown, but not burnt. Drain on a paper towel.
2. Grind the chilies to a powder in a food processor (or mortar and pestle).
3. Add the galangal, dried shrimp, and garlic and grind everything to a paste.
4. Heat 4 T oil over low heat, add the spice paste and stir-fry.
5. Add sugar and fish sauce. Stir until everything is brown.
6. Add pork skin at the end and mix well
Cheo keeps in the refrigerator for a long time.
“Jio Bong” recipe from Southeast Asian Food cookbook