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Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos [Hardcover]

Natacha Du Pont De Bie
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 April 2004
Natacha Du Pont De Bie is no ordinary tourist. She'll trek for hours or even days in search of a good lunch. Her obsession with food is such that, while others are lying comatose on the beach or cycling up mountains, she'll be down at the local market, elbow deep in produce, grilling people on where to find the best indigenous restaurants and cafés and jotting down recipes. She is a self-proclaimed food tourist - she can't think of a better way to experience a country and its culture than through its cuisine. And the more obscure the better.

So when Natacha found out that there was only one cookbook on Lao cuisine by the late king's chef, she promptly decided that the challenge of hunting down recipes and discovering a new gastronomy was just too tempting. ANT EGG SOUP is the result of her adventures in Laos, the stories of the people she met, the places she visited and, of course, the food she tasted: drinking raw turkey blood with herbs in a tribal village, cooking Paradise chicken in a little guest house by the Kung Si waterfalls and sampling fried cricket during the Festival of the Golden Stupa.

Funny and refreshing, fascinating and enlightening, ANT EGG SOUP will awaken the senses while redefining the art of travelling and eating abroad.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (26 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340825677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340825679
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,617,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Luscious ... her descriptions are so vivid you will want to rush off to the nearest oriental market' (Sunday Business Post)

'A charming portrayal of the people, the places, and of course the food of Laos' (Western Morning News)

About the Author

Natacha Du Pont De Bie has worked as a production assistant for a film company, a waitress, an usherette, a cameraman's personal assistant, a seamstress in a costume hire firm and as a tea lady - all by the age of 23. After holding proper jobs at Elle Decoration and House & Garden, Natacha swapped the cramped office environment for freelance styling for films and commercials. She is now a committed Food Tourist.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, funny, fascinating. 12 May 2004
By A Customer
I had a wonderful time in Laos a few years ago so I was so pleased to finally see a book which celebrates its delicious cuisine, but which also celebrates the country and its people, and really manages to captures the spirit of the place. The food is the raison d'etre for Natacha's trip but on the way she has some great adventures and meets a whole cast of beautifully drawn characters, and delves into the country's troubled history too. The lengths this woman will go to for a new culinary experience! Ants' eggs, silkworm grubs, fermented fish sauce - just some of the delicacies she tucks into with relish. A 'must-read' for anyone considering going to Laos or who has been and loved it, but also recommended for anyone who loves a really good travellers' yarn.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm... 9 Feb 2014
By Jman
A wasted opportunity. Another back backer who doesn't like other back packers because they aren't as real as her...

...now, the impact of drug-tourism, NGOs etc on host countries is well worth exploration but here we get the same tired sermons: Western tourists bad, local people worthy of Nobel prize, Western people get intoxicated bad/ Laos people intoxicated magical (author in latter camp obviously), roughing is edgy (with mandatory faux euphoria for hot water shower) - includes the standard lecture on squat toilets... (oh, you prissy English people...)... there's even a moment where, without irony, a Westerner becomes more interesting as a person when it's revealed he's related by marriage to Asians.

A good writer climbs above their own prejudices to give us a new insight on the world - there is too much ego-driven judgement and not enough insightful observation or new understanding. The author may have travelled many miles, but as a writer has some way to go.

Some of the food stuff is quite interesting though.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the most delightful, charming, engaging and seductive description of Laos, its food and culture. Natacha du Pont de Bie has a lovely style and her decriptions are wonderfully entertaining and evocative leaving you with the feeling that you want to pack up and go there immediately!Long live food tourists!
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