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A culinary world tour through Berlin

Papaya salad with shrimp, Laos

This Laotian national dish combines four different flavors: sweet, salty, sour and spicy. That's how Hao Nguyen serves papaya salad in her restaurant Chez Dang.

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Hao Nguyen: "It's tough to say if I'm more German or more Laotian."

Hao Nguyen was still a child when her family fled Laos for Thailand, and then changed course for Berlin in 1980. Her father was critical of the government, and in Laos, his politics soon became too dangerous for the family. 

Hao Nguyen in front of her restaurant (Photo: Lena Ganssmann)

Hao Nguyen

Hao Nguyen spent her youth in Neukölln and fell in love with the district. Later, she would go on to become a foreign language correspondent and train as an alternative medical practitioner, but deep inside she always dreamed of owning her own restaurant. She imagined a place where she could serve traditional food from her home country and which she could design just as she pleased. In 2011, that dream became a reality. Together with her two brothers and a cousin, she opened Chez Dang.

Chez Dang in Berlin-Neukölln

The name "Chez Dang" is a hommage to her family and the country of her birth, Laos, which was long held as a French colony. It was clear the restaurant would be in Neukölln since it has become a hip district in recent years.

 

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50 Kitchens, One City: Laos

 

Som Tam (Papaya salad)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 green papaya (around 400 g)
  • 4 small carrots (around 200 g)
  • 4 heaping T dried shrimp
  • 4 heaping T peanuts
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • 8 Asian snake beans
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 approx. 4-cm fresh chilis
  • 4 T sugar
  • 8 T fish sauce
  • 8 T lemon juice

Preparation:

Peel papaya and grate into fine strips. Wash carrots and grate into fine strips. Wash and quarter tomatoes.

Crush garlic and chili together in a large mortar or bowl. After washing snake beans, break into 4-cm pieces, add to mortar, and crush.

Add all remaining ingredients – except for the sugar, fish sauce, and lemon juice – to the mortar. Finally, add sugar, fish sauce, and lemon juice and combine using pestle. Then stir using a spoon and mix together with salad.

Serve with sticky rice and a cold beer.

Restaurant Chez Dang
Friedelstraße 31
12047 Berlin

Tel.: +49 30 53051205

 

Chez Dang website

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