Larb. Green papaya salad. Sticky rice. Historically, the food of Laos has flown under the radar in the U.S., often taking a back seat to more popular dishes from Thailand; but all of that is changing as young chefs take the reins, introducing the cuisine to an increasingly inquisitive American palate.
Among those young upstarts is Alex Hanesakda, owner of SapSap, a food-based business through which he has introduced the food world to both food products and experiences that underscore both Lao flavors and traditions. In this week’s podcast, we talk with Hanesakda about his career path, from growing up cooking with his family in his hometown of Burlington Wisconsin to launching his own company. Along the way, he shares insights into his approach to Lao fare, the reception he’s received along the way and his plans for the future.
During the podcast, we also conduct an online taste test of one of SapSap’s newest products, a Lao hot sauce.
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Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.