Today, October 16, is World Food Day, which is dedicated to promoting food security and ending hunger around the world. This issue is particularly pertinent to our work on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, where the river’s fishes are a major part of local diets and vital to the food security of 60 million people (see Full-service fish market, Fish on a rope, Fish kabob). And just as fish are central to food in Southeast Asia, food in general is central to any Southeast Asian traveling experience. It’s one benefit of working abroad that we are eager to learn, bring home, and celebrate on a day like today (see Mekong fish and banana leaves).
Recently, we prepared a recipe of tom yum soup given to us by our colleague Sinsamout Ounboundisane, who works in our Lao PDR office. Made with coconut milk, piles of fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, spices, and usually seafood, this sweet, spicy, and savory concoction is truly mouthwatering. We made ours with shrimp, chicken, and a whole lot of crushed chili peppers to give it that extra kick. With the smell of lemon grass and shrimp streaming throughout the office, it didn’t take long for everyone to assemble in the kitchen and make the soup vanish. So, unfortunately for our coworkers at other offices and abroad: there’s no soup for you!