• Seng Luangrath's Pantry •

  all photos by Atara Bernstein

all photos by Atara Bernstein

There are several titles worthy of Seng Luangrath: chef, business owner, restaurateur, mentor, #LaoFoodMovement founder, and the one she’s the most proud of, mom. Chef Seng wears all these hats while cooking Laotian food at home and  running her two restaurants we #pinefor: Padaek & Thip Khao.

She first learned how to cook in Laos, from her grandmother, and then through the several refugee camps she lived in throughout her journey to the United States. She adapted to the ingredients of the places she has lived -  Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, and eventually the US. Her food style is both a mix of the places she has been and the women in her life who exposed her to their ancestral foods.

Step into her inspired, funky, and versatile kitchen with us:

her style

  • "My food at home is just like it is at my restaurant: fresh, spicy, and funky, and dependent on my mood.  My taste buds change on certain days-- sometimes I want something as simple as a papaya salad, and sometimes I’m feeling like I want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I will make noodles: Khao Piak or Khao Poon. My kitchen is very small and humble.

  • I find inspiration depending on if I’m cooking for myself or my family. Sometimes I get inspired by a dish or ingredient I see while browsing Instagram or the season and what my vegetable garden has ready at that moment.

 

markets & shopping

  • I mostly go to Asian supermarkets-- I walk through every single aisle when I have time, always starting in the vegetable aisle and ending in the meat section. I like to take my time, and I never go with a shopping list, as I always prefer to go and see what inspires me in the moment.

 

 

fridge must-haves

  • Many ingredients I don’t have in the fridge because I usually grab from my garden such as lemongrass, chili, kaffir lime leaves, and mint.

  • Shrimp paste

  • Crab paste

  • Tomatoes

  • Egg

  • Green Papaya

  • Thai Sriracha

  • Garlic

  • Limes

  • Dill

  • Onion and cilantro for my Mama Instant Noodle cravings

  • Ginger

  • Fresh Egg & Pho Noodles

 

pantry staples

 

cookbooks

When I was a kid in Laos, I learned from my grandmother and then I continued learning through the several refugee camps I was in with my family. I adapted to the ingredients of the country where I was at the time, such as Thailand and the Philippines, until we arrived to California. Family recipes and the internet have been a great help in my cooking learning journey.

I don’t use cookbooks, but I do have a few because of friends that have published and I will always treasure them:

 

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To Sum it Up:

  • pantry item she can't live without: Padaek

  • one or two items that are always in her fridge: shrimp paste & eggs

  • her go to inspiration cookbook: I don’t use a cookbook, but my notes when traveling or testing recipes keep me inspired!

  • her most trusted kitchen tool: mortar & pestle

  • 5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: asian-cliche, funky, fast, affordable, and versatile.  

  • her all time favorite market: Grand Mart

  • women she pines for: Purple Patch Chef Patrice Cleary, the Grandmother at King Market (Nashville), and my management team with mostly badass women!

  • women made food products she pines for: The Ninja Foods,  founded by Alex Sirivath and Khamla Sirivath, the pastries by Chef Tiffany (of Buttercream in DC) and the Falooda from Toli Moli.

  • her favorite music to jam out to in the kitchen: I don’t really listen to music when I cook. It’s my meditation time, I enjoy to cook while calm and quiet, unless I’m livestreaming my cooking on Instagram ha! I mostly enjoy the sounds of the food while I’m preparing it and cooking it.