The story of SAAP Lao Kitchen: How 6 cousins set out to share their family's love of Lao food.

Not many people realize that SAAP Lao Kitchen began as a late-night conversation among cousins during Christmas Eve of 2015. Per usual, we ended family festivities with a bowl of khao piak sen. We talked into the night about all sorts of topics, and as usual our conversations led to our shared love of food. We love food in general, but Lao food holds a special place in our hearts. We talked about the under-representation of Lao cuisine, and how our generation should do something to keep traditions alive and share the Lao culture we know and love with as many people as possible. 

That passionate food and alcohol-fueled epiphany on Christmas Eve turned into a 2016 New Year's resolution (one of very few resolutions that we actually kept that year).  That night we agreed that no matter what, we needed to make it happen. What began as a promise to have one pop-up before year-end turned into a viable business with several events and a growing following for our deliciously different beef jerky. I think we all underestimated what our collective dream would accomplish. To say that it has been a wonderful and unexpected ride is an understatement, for sure!

Our personal story started long before Christmas 2015; it can be traced back for generations. The matriarchs of our family found their purpose in cooking. When they weren't in school, our mothers would help our grandmother work the food stands at the day market back in Laos. They'd cook up delicious foods for patrons doing their daily shopping. Our moms brought that tradition and knowledge to America where they would cook wonderful feasts for our family to enjoy. Memories of family gatherings with so much food and leftovers for days dominate our childhood. Our upbringing has literally been shaped by food and our life-long dream has always been there, in the background, waiting for the right moment to spark that entrepreneurial spirit in all of us.

Fast forward to today and we are 6 cousins pursuing this dream with every fiber of our being. It's not easy to launch a business and we've learned a lot on our journey, but we wouldn't trade it for anything. We want so badly to share the love, food and culture of our family with the world and we are extremely grateful that we now have an opportunity to do so every day.

Our first two years have been a blast, and we know that 2018 will bring even more great opportunities for our family. We appreciate each and every person who has joined us along this journey, and we sincerely hope you'll continue to grow with us.

Until next time. Cheers, friends.

-Cliff Douangdara