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 cafes 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.

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