BAMBOO STICKY RICE
I have a story to tell. It’s someone elses story but I had the privelege of connecting with the story teller… You know those moments when you think this cannot just be a coincidence? Well, lately that has happened to me alot. I am grateful for these moments because it makes me feel connected to the ‘source’… that I’m being led on a path that crosses with the path of someone else, or something else that is special and needs to be shared.
That path led me to a little restaurant called Vientiane in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. Recommended to me by a friend and client who sent me a ‘YOU MUST GO TO THIS RESTAURANT EMAIL’ (yes, in caps!)… she detailed the fresh, seasonal produce, the laotian inspired meals and the black sticky rice pudding!
But, she also gushed about Mimi + Suriyafon – the brains behind Vientiane.
So… off I went (twice!) to experience some of the most refreshing, nurturing and wholesome food I’ve had in a while. Have you ever ate a meal and felt 100% satisfied yet without feeling full or uncomfortable – just light, energetic and alive? Well… if not, Vientiane is for you.
The food is almost indescribable. So i’m going to pepper this paragraph with a food words that hopefully paint a picture for you. Fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables, juicy pork, sweet peppery scents, crunchy carrots, zingy rice paper rolls, diced chicken, sticky rice…
What I really want to highlight from the cuisine at Vientiane is the Bamboo Sticky Rice, a unique laotian tradition. Young Bamboo shoots are stuffed with pre-soaked rice, raisins and coconut husks. These carefully crafted version of nature’s tupperware allow the transportation of wholesome, energy + life giving food from place to place. A method used in Laos for many, many years for hunting/gathering trips or simply food to sustain them on their travels. Once they reach their destination the bamboo is placed in the fire, cooking the rice. To eat, simply peel back the bamboo in strips and pick small chunks of rice with your fingers. Eat. Enjoy.
Vientiane is the only place in Sydney where you can experience this traditional food. Let me tell you this… I have never, ever tasted rice so delicious – sticky yet light, sweet and pungent, nourishing and so beautifully presented. I feel though, that besides the taste, what makes this so special is the connection to nature and to the laotian tradition. You feel that you are connected to the process in which the sticky rice came to life. It wasn’t processed in a factory, sealed into a bag, transported on a truck, packed onto shelves where it sat there waiting for someone to save it from supermarket confinement.
But (it’s a big but) what makes Vientiane more than just a restaurant is the history and knowledge, passed down like a beacon. It goes much deeper than the story of bamboo sticky rice, or even just seeing food as fuel. Although, even if I simply ended this blog here, that would be enough…
Mimi – the storyteller I mentioned earlier – is by far one of the most open-hearted and beautiful souls I have met. Her passion and knowledge is an integral piece to the puzzle. Through Mimi we didn’t just experience the food, we got to the heart of Vientiane and we were blown away by the story.
Head chef, Suriyafon’s grandmother who lived to 113 years of age is the inspiration behind the restaurant Vientiane. His grandmother was a renown traditional herbal medicine healer in Vientiane, Laos. She advanced Suriyafon’s practice by allowing him to heal some of her more severe cases. Suriyafon was already trained in traditional Chinese medicine. He trained under her guidance for 6 years. Her wish was for Suriyafon to continue to be a healer.
Suriyafon believes and understands food should heal and nourish the body, mind and soul. It is with this in mind that he carefully creates dishes from the the purest of ingredients:
“Food is a basic of life. Therefore, it should be of the most pure and nutritious nature. Of course, it should also be delicious so the experience is pleasurable as well”.
Vientiane is an opportunity to introduce traditional, modern, organic and healthy Lao cuisine to Sydney.
Now, doesn’t that excite you? The reality and truth that food is everything, our nourishment and healer, and that we Sydneysiders have been blessed with a beautiful duo who are bringing this concept into our realm is amazing and inspiring.
Here is a place that aims to inspire, feeding the body and the soul. Here are two people who believe in something passionately and aim to live (and share it!) in such a way.
I strongly urged anyone out there to check out Vientiane for yourself, taste the food, experience it and discover for yourself what real, wholesome, life-giving food can do. And perhaps entertain the notion that true wellness isn’t so difficult to attain – it’s quite simply what we put into our body! Reaching 113 years is proof enough, right?
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live