Welcome to Food from Northern Laos. The aim of our site is to promote the food and cultural diversity of Northern Laos by sharing information on its cuisine including recipes, local ingredients and their substitutes, preparation and cooking techniques. We also promote and market the unique cookbook Food from Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook, published by our New Zealand company, Galangal Press.
Introducing Dorothy Culloty and Kees Sprengers
Since 2002 I have been documenting northern Lao food preparation, Lao ingredients, and Lao recipes, which has culminated in the book “Food from Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook”. Prior to this I produced 9 postcards of Lao recipes as a trial to show local people what I was doing and assembled a Lao (phoetics and Lao script) and English guide to the vegetables of Laos.
BL (Before Laos) I had an extensive professional background in public sector human resource and organisational change management in New Zealand and also worked for international consultancies in change management and career counselling. But I got tired and disenchanted with working with large organisations and the stress wrought on staff by repeated restructuring. It was also getting increasingly difficult to manage a case load of clients and make regular trips to Laos to do what I really wanted to do: Lao food anthropology and the promotion of Lao food and Lao recipes in the West. Kees, my husband, also loved Laos and had his own passionate interest: photography. So in 2004 we rented the house to friends and moved to Lao PDR as volunteers with New Zealand’s VSA (Volunteer Service Abroad) supported by NZAid. My role was training and publications advisor for the Rural Research and Development Training Centre, in Vientiane. The three and a half year assignment rapidly grew into a wider management coaching and mentoring role. It was fun, and constructive work with wonderful people. Throughout that period Kees and I continued to make trips to Luang Namtha documenting food and ethnic religious ceremonies. We now live in Thailand by the beach and visit Lao PDR regularly, promoting our cookbook, adding to our information on Lao food and cultures and working on the next project.
I worked for 14 years as the photographer for the Waikato Museum of Art and History in New Zealand and then branched out into social issues (that’s another story). Since 2002 I have focused on photo documentary in Lao PDR, specializing in portraiture, cultural change in rural and village life and the religious ceremonies of minority groups in the province of Luang Namtha. I regularly photograph cultural assignments for the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center in Luang Prabang. Publications include “Contemporary Maori Art” written by Katarina Mataira, nine postcards for TEAC and nine postcards documenting recipes of Northern Laos. I am represented in the collections of Waikato Museum of Art and History, Auckland City Art Gallery, and TEAC, have had solo exhibitions in Hamilton, Auckland, Bangkok and Vientiane and been part of group exhibitions in New Zealand and the USA. My photography websites are: Kees Sprengers – Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha – Laos and Luang Namtha documentary project.