I've been meaning to post these photos (taken by my BFF, Frances) of my birthday dinner in Luang Prabang for more than a month. But then I realized that there'd be no way of posting these pictures without telling the whole gory story--I'm a stickler for honesty, after all. And then I reviewed my posts of the last few months and realized that all I ever write about here is getting sick, which led me to the horrible realization that I don't have the stomach of steel that I like to pretend that I do.
So on unsteady legs, I toddled off to the restaurant, looking forward to the first solid food I had eaten in 48 hours. Until I realized that we had pre-ordered an entire meal--course after course--of insects. I'll admit that I was surprised. Robyn has claimed in the past to not be much of a fan of bugs. Maybe she just meant in her house and not on her plate, I don't know. I suppose I should have been tipped off that the menu was called the "adventure set."
But as most know, I'm not one to let a plate of terrifying food get in the way of my good time, so I knocked back a couple of glasses of lao-lao, the Laotian local rice wine, and started in on the ant larvae (which were surprisingly delicious).
By the time we moved on to the baby frogs eaten whole, the fermented fish, the honeybees and the snake soup, I was pretty pleased with myself. The only time my stomach turned was when I saw my friend Cissy tear the face off a 3 inch long black beetle and throw it into her gaping maw, but another few shots of lao-lao and even that was a distant, and not unpleasant memory. My satisfaction was so extreme, in fact, that when I was presented with a plate of giant, golden moth larvae, I jammed one in my mouth, ignoring the taste of rotten innards that had the look and consistency of scrambled eggs. The whole meal managed to disappear into a lao-lao haze that seemed to somehow steady my sickness-shaken legs.
That night I woke up at 3am, stumbled to the bathroom and puked the whole thing up, baby frogs and all. Nonetheless, a delicious and adventurous dinner, although perhaps one best eaten on a settled stomach.