Monday, November 12, 2012

Hmong Village in St. Paul, Minnesota

The Hmong people live all over Southeast Asia.  Those living in Laos helped the Americans during the Vietnam War.  When we lost, many Hmong fled to America.  The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis are home to 40,000 Hmong refugees and their children.

Hmong Village is in a large non-descript warehouse outside of downtown St. Paul.  Dozens of stores in small modular units sell bootleg DVDs, fabrics, and traditional medicines.  A long market sells fresh and exotic produce.  Along two walls in the market are murals of rural, but prosperous, Hmong life in Laos.   War is ever-present, as there are attack helicopters and fighter jets depicted in the murals as well.

Last night, I dragged my wife and mother-in-law there.  A pushy but friendly guy was trying to get me to sign a petition to Congress to have a Hmong war hero buried at Arlington National Cemetery, where American soldiers are buried.

I had the sausage and rice (see 0:35 mark, below).  The spicy dipping sauce/paste that came with it was very smokey and delicious.  I had a few bites of a bamboo salad as well.  There was a little red bean in the salad and I ate it because it looked like a sweet Jelly Belly.  It turned out to be the hottest pepper I have ever eaten.  It hurt.

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