Seendat – Lao Barbecue

I’m having a hard time translating “seendat”. It’s inspired by Korean barbecue, so I’ll call it Lao barbecue, but using “barbecue” in this way sort of bothers me. My family is from Texas and Kansas, and to people in that region, barbecue is a very specific way of cooking beef. This dish is not at all what Texans mean when they say “barbeque”.

Maybe I should call this “Lao Grilling”, but Lao people have lots of grilled foods, and this is only one of them. Plus, seendat is not just grilled, it also includes a soup. Basically, seendat is a meal that you cook yourself at your table. The table is set like this with the seendat pan in the middle over a bucket of hot coals:

These are also brought to the table:

  • Marinated beef, eggs, pork fat for greasing the pan
  • Leafy green vegetables such as celery leaves, mint, cilantro, Thai basil, lettuce, and cabbage
  • Thin rice noodles
  • Clear broth for the soup
  • Peanut dipping sauce “Cheo Suki”
  • garlic, limes, and hot peppers for flavoring the soup and the sauce

When all these things arrive, you:

  • Grease the grill with the pork fat and grill the meat on it
  • Pour some broth into the moat and fill it with vegetables, noodles, and eggs
  • Customize your peanut dip with as much garlic, lime juice, and chilies as you want
  • Eat and do the whole thing again!

Lao people often say this dish is not really Lao because it come from Korea, but I disagree. Even though it was probably inspired by Korean barbecue, seendat has definitely taken on Lao flavors. Also, I met a Korean in Laos who had tried seendat and it didn’t taste Korean to her!

– the pictures in this post were taken by my brother Scott –

7 responses to “Seendat – Lao Barbecue

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I love love love this bbq. In Thailand we call it differently with few different ingredients. Last time I was in Thailand, I’ve missed the dish. Reading this make me think about all the good times

  2. Thank you for taking the time to share with us the wonders of your daily life!! The meal looks delicious as well as healthy. The spices and ingredients used remind me of meals shared in Thailand.

  3. I thought that picture looked familiar. I like the last bullet point – “do the whole thing again”. I look forward to that. 🙂

  4. It seems more like fondue than barbecue to me!

  5. looks super yummy but it has that feel of korean bbq but looks like it has all the flavours of laos that you talk about.

  6. This looks like one of the most terrific barbeque parties ever. It reminds me of going to Korean places in Los Angeles with your uncle Bill, or to this place in Wichita, near your cousin Karyn’s house, which is a kind of fast-food Mongolian version. It was pretty good.

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