WATCH: How to make the national dish of Laos

Laos last week completely reopened its borders to foreigners, paving the way for the travellers to return to this small, extraordinary South-East Asian nation.

This is a country that has long been the ideal destination for those wanting something a little different to the traditional South-East Asian experience. Gorgeous waterways wind their way through dense forests like arteries throughout, with rope swings and bars abundant on the water’s edge. Long gone are the booze and narcotic filled tubing days of the early 2010s, but a slightly toned-down tubing experience is definitely still possible, and worth it.

Kuang Si Waterfall

Adventure isn’t hard to find here. Trekking through paddy fields and jungles, zip-lining from tree to tree. It’s also a place at the intersection of a heap other Asian countries, meaning not only is it easy to go and visit those places, but there’s a patchwork of different people and cultures you’re unlikely to come across anywhere else.

As well as being a bit different to other countries in terms of experience, Laos does things a little differently in terms of food as well. Although there are some influences owed to a 60-year French occupation, Lao cuisine is much more similar to Thai, although with a greater love for sticky rice.

Saengthong Douangdara of Saeng’s Kitchen is a celebrity Lao chef who describes Lao cuisine as “aggressive…really spicy, really funky and really delicious.” Just another

Laab is the national dish of Laos, and there’s a heap of different variations of it – see below as Saeng runs us through how to make Laab Diib. We can definitely see ourselves smashing a bowl of this in a little street-side stall in Luang Prabang some time soon…

That’s one nice Korean noodle

If you’ve never heard of Paik Jong-won, you clearly haven’t been to South Korea.

The celebrity chef has an extraordinary 5.5 million subscribers, and about 3,000 stores worldwide. But you don’t have to go to Korea to experience this man’s brilliance – he’s opened up a couple of stores down the road from each other in Melbourne.

Tucked away almost secretly down Little Lonsdale Street alongside some other excellent Korean restaurants, Paik’s Noodles and Paik’s BBQ Grill are only about 100 metres from each other. get lost took on the Noodle restaurant but if the queue is too long (and it gets pretty long) then head up the road to the Grill.

The first thing you notice about Paik’s is the size of the man’s thumb on the cartoon sign that you walk under as you go in. We’re unsure if this is to scale (see below, you be the judge) or if it would help him in the kitchen, but one things for sure – the people in this kitchen know their stuff.

Plate after plate of delicious, flavoursome cuisine fills the table – from delectable deep-fried pork to spicy noodles laced with oyster sauce that are cut with noodle scissors prior to eating, and a dazzling array of fresh vegetable dishes.

There’s also poktanju, where you drop a shot of soju into a beer and drink it quickly, like a Korean Jager bomb. It’s not too potent…unless you drink heaps of it.

Paik’s is an epic spot for dinner, a date, late-ish eats and more, and it’s pretty affordable too – a little more than a tenner will get you a dish. Just get there early – there’s often a queue out the front during busy times.

Eating in Style in the Maldives

If you’re looking for a decadently tasty daydream to drool to, we’ve got just the ticket.

The Maldives has long been the leader in luxury resorts, and Soneva Fushi has long been right up the top of the list. And sure, there’s a bunch of breathtaking overwater retreats, but where Soneva has taken it to a new level in recent times is its dining options.

Soneva has added Out of the Sea to it’s list of restaraunts, the appropriately restaurant sitting literally on the water, where you can probably spot some of tomorrow’s seafood swimming beneath you. You literally can’t get any fresher than that.

The restaurant, like other offerings at the resort, features award-winning chefs serving mainly Mediterranean flavours, wok-fried dishes and tapas-inspired light bites. There’s also an intimate, rustic style of luxury that makes you comfortable straight away. 

The restaurant has recently opened, and adds to the 11 other tasty dining experiences on offer at the resort. We’ve selected our five favourites – check them out below:

Soneva Fushi, Maldives top five dining experiences

Holi Festival: How to Make Prawn Curry

Anjum Anand is a British/Indian chef, writer, entrepreneur and TV presenter who knows her way around a curry.

The Hindu festival Holi (March 17 & 18 in 2022) marks the beginning of the spring season. It is also known as the festival of colours and is famous for people rubbing coloured powder into one another. 

Anand, who has been dubbed the ‘Nigella Lawson of Indian cuisine’, says food is right at the centre of Holi, as well as colour.

Anjum Anand is a celebrity cook who has been on SBS, BBC and more.

“Street food is very much at the forefront of Holi celebrations as people roam the streets of India celebrating the day,” she says. 

“Some of my favourites are pakoras, samoas, dahi bhallas (which are a lentil dumpling smothered in seasoned yoghurt and served with a chutney)…depending on which region you are in, the food will vary slightly.”

Ananad has  for a few absolutely DELISH looking prawn curry you might see if you’re going to a Holi celebration so that you can have a go yourself, and do not quite as well as the pros:

Anjum Annad’s Prawn Curry

Prawn Curry

SERVE SIZE: Serves 2-3

PREP TIME: 10 minutes  

COOK TIME: 10 minutes 


“Prawn curry in Goa is one of the regions favourite dishes, a spicy, flavourful curry with the base of coconut and soured with tamarind to elevate the succulent local prawns – but you don’t have to be in Goa to enjoy the flavours!”


1 pack The Spice Tailor Keralan Coconut Curry

360g king prawns, shelled and cleaned

1 rounded tbsp tomato purée

¾-1 tsp tamarind paste

1-2 tbsp veg oil

Goan Spice Mix

1-2 dried red chillies, soaked – Including the one from the pack

3/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp black peppercorns

2 cloves


Grind all the spices into a smooth powder. Then, add the chillies and a little water to help.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry this paste for 1-2 minutes, and add the tomato purée and stir for another minute.

Pour in the Keralan Coconut Curry from the pouch, stir and add a splash of water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Add the tamarind paste and king prawns.

Cook for 2 minutes until the prawns are just cooked.


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Is this the best sandwich in Sydney?

Warning: Don’t read on if you’re counting carbs.

Smalls Deli, a small, chic-looking Potts Point-based deli, are arguably making Sydney’s best sandwiches right now.

Smalls opened at the inopportune time of January 2020, a few weeks before the pandemic began. Not ideal, but it is then a testament to the deliciousness of their sangas that they have bounced back so impressively.

Nearby Iggy’s make the bread, but it’s what’s on the inside counts. You want to order the Croque Monsuier: double-smoked ham, liquid gruyère and comte cheeses, bechamel sauce and tangy dijon mustard all jammed inside a couple of the legendary baker’s sourdough. On top is sprinkled a light amount of another sort of cheese, in case there wasn’t enough on the inside.

Small’s is a place for all occasions: whether you’re catching up with some mates,  desperately need a hangover cure or you’re going on a date – you can’t go wrong.

Just bring a calculator…for those delicious carbs.

Berlin Toilet Burger

When you exit the U-Bahn at Schlesisches Tor station, in Berlin’s uber-cool Kreuzberg area (they’re all uber-cool, right?) and walk across the road, you will find a fairly elementary looking public toilet.

And if it is between the hours of 11am and midnight, any day of the week, you will find a queue of around 50 people lining up at this public toilet.

No, the people of Kreuzberg are not particularly weak-bladdered people, nor is this some sort of secret Berlin nightclub (the latter easily the more likely of the two).

This is Burgermeister, an institution for travellers and Berliners alike since 2006. And I shit you not: The best burger I have ever (and I mean ever) eaten came from this toilet.

According to the original Burgermeister-er, he found the toilet in 2003, disused for several decades, and saw something special in it. I can genuinely say I have never felt the same way about a loo, but then this is why I am an ordinary man, and not the burger magician that the Burgermeister-er is.

This is no gimmick: the long lines are not there purely to capitalise on some sort of deliberately perverse tourism opportunity, to say that they ordered a burger from a toilet. They are there because the burgers are god-damn delicious.

The toilet people make their own buns, make their own meat patties, and produce their own fries – all fresh. This is unusual in itself for a fast-food restaurant, a trait they clearly aren’t scared of.

After a particularly big couple of nights that may well have been a week, a friend and I queued at Burgermeister for what seemed like another week, looking for sustenance and keen to see if this famous burger was worth the hype.

Long story short: it was.

Eating your way around DC’s Western Market

OMG yum. Get in my belly.

get lost’s man on the ground Roberto Serrini took on Washington DC’s Western Market not so long ago…and won. Comprehensively.

The Western Market is a food hall which has only been open for about a year. Set in the colourfully named Foggy Bottom neighbourhood, this is no ordinary food hall.

Here, there’s dozens of vendors but ONLY top of the line culinary experiences.

Think lobster rolls, Bandoola bowls, burgers…you know, all the good stuff.

Check out foodie Roberto’s top tips below:

Make: Colombian Street Food

If you’ve ever been to Colombia, you’ve had aborrajados. And if you didn’t, you weren’t doing it right.

It’s maybe the most delicious thing to come out of Colombia (although Pablo Escobar would say otherwise) and is relatively easy to make.

Colombian-American chef Anita Shepherd aught up with VICE’s food show Munchies to teach Westerners how to make this delicious street food recently.

If you can’t get to Colombia right now, this is the next best thing.

Make Iron Chef quality sushi

Japan have given us many gifts, especially in the world of food, and there’s probably no gift bigger than the gloriously delicious gift of sushi. And legendary Japanese chef Morimoto, of Iron Chef TV show fame, knows a thing or two about making sushi.

While many people would assume sushi to be the national dish of Japan, that title goes to Japanese Curry. In fact, Japan didn’t actually even invent sushi, with the dish originating in Southeast Asia.

Despite this, over the centuries they managed to absolutely perfect it…or so they thought, until Morimoto came along, who perfected it even more.

He recently caught up with VICE’s food show Munchies to teach Westerners how to make Japan’s epic dish.

Find out how – if you can’t get to Tokyo right now, this is the next best thing.

Make a god-damn delicious Pad Thai

National Day of Thailand is this weekend (December 5) and there is no meal more synonymous with Thailand than Pad Thai (drool).

get lost doesn’t mind Thai food one bit, and frequently reminisces fondly over a trip to a truly special restaurant on the Thai/Cambodian border not so long ago.

While you’ll never be able to make a Pad Thai like the experts, it’s a relatively simple dish that everyone loves – a safe bet if you are trying to impress on date night.

Jet Tila is a renowned chef, whose family opened the first Thai restaraunt in the United States. He also holds the world record for the largest ever stir fry.

Courtesy of the Food Network, learn how to make a Pad Thai so god-damn delicious, you’ll think you’ve got some heritage there somewhere (you don’t).

Get in my belly.