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Coming Soon...
Tuesday, Oct 22
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
1:00 PM Film & Discussion: Puzzle
6:00 PM Coco: Sugar Skull Paint Night
7:00 PM Opera: Aida
7:30 PM SDIFF Film: Come un Gatto in Tangenzial + Short: The Loony Boxer
7:30 PM Book Signing: Kate Quinn
Wednesday, Oct 23
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
5:00 PM Wine Tasting: Northern Italy
6:00 PM French Film: Moka
7:30 PM SDIFF Film: Euforia + Short: Postcard
Thursday, Oct 24
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Norwegian Rosmaling Painting Event
5:00 PM Talk: Racism in German and American Cinema of the Twenties
6:00 PM UNA Discussion: Our Planet, Our Future
7:00 PM Book Signing: Rut Sepetys
7:30 PM SDIFF Film: A Casa Tutti Bene + Short: The Place of Happiness
8:00 PM Comedy: Dante Chang
Friday, Oct 25
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 AM Norwegian Rosmaling Painting Event
1:00 PM Talk with Potter Shumpei Yamaki
2:00 PM Book Signing: J. Elke Ertle
6:00 PM Film & Discussion About Race, Mental Health & Community
7:00 PM Music: Clave Dura
7:00 PM Opera: Aida
7:30 PM SDIFF Film: Selfie + Shorts: Shine, Beauty
7:30 PM Stage: Amazing Adventures Of The Marvelous Monkey King
7:30 PM Stage: Foxfire
8:00 PM Comedy: Dante Chang
Saturday, Oct 26
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 AM Norwegian Rosmaling Painting Event
10:00 AM Travel Writing Workshop
11:00 AM Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
11:00 AM City Heights El Dia de los Muertos
12:00 PM Encinitas Dia de los Muertos Celebration
12:00 PM The 6th Annual Comida ¡EXPO!
1:00 PM Indigo Shibori Napkins Workshop
2:00 PM Black Life: A Conversation
2:00 PM Stage: Sense & Sensibility
2:00 PM Stage: Amazing Adventures Of The Marvelous Monkey King
2:00 PM San Diego Symphony Plays Music from Coco
5:30 PM SDIFF Gala & Italy Exported Awards
7:30 PM Comedy: Dante Chang
7:30 PM Stage: Foxfire
7:30 PM Stage: Amazing Adventures Of The Marvelous Monkey King
8:00 PM Stage: Sense and Sensibility
9:30 PM Comedy: Dante Chang
Sunday, Oct 27
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 AM Norwegian Rosmaling Painting Event
10:00 AM Oceanside Dia de los Muertos
12:00 PM Kimchi Workshop
12:00 PM Hands On Kimchi Workshop
2:00 PM House of Scotland Lawn Program
2:00 PM Opera: Aida
2:00 PM Sushi Festival San Diego
2:00 PM Stage: Sense & Sensibility
2:00 PM Stage: Foxfire
7:00 PM Keali'i Reichel
7:30 PM SDIFF Film: L’uomo Che Comprò la Luna
7:30 PM Stage: Amazing Adventures Of The Marvelous Monkey King
Monday, Oct 28
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
4:00 PM Population Aging and Korea’s Economy
4:00 PM Talk: Ancestral Tradition & Cultural Transformation Across Borders
7:00 PM Book Signing: Alice Hoffman
Tuesday, Oct 29
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
12:00 PM In Celebration of Toni Morrison: Reflecting on a Legend
6:00 PM Coco: Sugar Skull Paint Night
6:00 PM Lecture: Kashmir: Where Identity Rises Above a Territory
7:00 PM Victoria Martino Lecture on Matisse
Wednesday, Oct 30
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
5:00 PM Talk by Artist Diedrick Brackens
Thursday, Oct 31
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Friday, Nov 1
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Bazaar del Mundo Dia de los Muertos Celebration
5:00 PM Viva Frida Art Show
5:00 PM Dia de los Muertos Celebration Fundraiser
7:00 PM Music: La Santa Cecilia
8:00 PM Ballet: Carmina Burana
8:00 PM Movie: Casablanca
8:00 PM Stage: Sense and Sensibility
Saturday, Nov 2
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM East County Multicultural Festival
10:00 AM Indigenous Regeneration Presentation
10:00 AM Chinese Museum Oral History Workshop
10:00 AM Bazaar del Mundo Dia de los Muertos Celebration
11:00 AM Escondido Tamale Festival
11:00 AM Old Town Dia de los Muertos
1:00 PM Mission Hills Library Dia De Los Muertos Celebration
1:00 PM Raising Bilingual-Multilingual Children
2:00 PM Book Signing: J. Elke Ertle
6:00 PM Sacred Object/Sacred Wisdom Exhibit Opening
7:00 PM Movie: Coco
8:00 PM Stage: Twelfth Night
8:00 PM Stage: Sense and Sensibility
8:00 PM Ballet: Carmina Burana
8:00 PM Movie: Casablanca
Sunday, Nov 3
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Bazaar del Mundo Dia de los Muertos Celebration
10:15 AM Meet Hands of Peace Israeli and Palestinian Regional Managers
11:00 AM Fall Back Festival
11:00 AM Old Town Dia de los Muertos
2:00 PM Talk: Should We Doubt Shakespeare's Identity?
2:00 PM Ballet: Carmina Burana
2:00 PM Stage: Sense & Sensibility
7:00 PM Stage: Twelfth Night
Monday, Nov 4
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Thai Laap Pla
The Participant Observer recipe of the month is for Thai Laap Pla, a savory and spicy fish dish that is easy to prepare and very satisfying when eaten with sticky rice.

Laap Plaa

Laap, or more popularly known as larb, is a versatile and delicious dish from Laos and Northern Thailand. The term laap is derived from the Kra-Dai language root for "to mince" or "to chop." Knowing this is key to understanding the dish. Laap, regardless of its particular iteration, depends on minced protein to function as its base. Beyond that, the seasonings, cooking method and final plating are dependent on the flavors of the region.

Laap typifies cuisine in the region of Isan, which is a former region of 20 provinces in Thailand and Laos that is united through language, culture and cuisine.

In the Laotian/Isan version, minced meat is cooked in a light amount of stock in order to prevent browning and sticking. It is then seasoned with dried chili powder and served with roasted rice (known as khao kua), fresh herbs like mint, lime juice, fish sauce, shallots, garlic and galangal (a root spice from one of four related aromatic rhizome species). The result is a dish layered with intense flavors, textures and aromas.

The fish sauce commonly used in Laos is known as padek and possesses more body and a milder flavor than Thai or Vietnamese fish sauces. The intensity of the seasoning pairs better with the staple of the Laotian diet: sticky rice. Sticky rice (khao niao) is also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice (which is what it is typically called in American Asian markets). This particular variety of rice is the traditional starch in Northern and Northeastern Thailand, as well as in Laos, and tempers the fiery intensity of the laap.

The Northern Thai version of laap comes from the Lanna Kingdom, which existed in the north of Thailand and eastern Myanmar between the thirteenth and eighteenth century. This version relies heavily on dried spices like cumin, cinnamon, long pepper and cardamom for its flavor and does not use fish sauce or a souring agent. Other differences include the frequent additions of bile, blood and offal. The Lanna style was highly influenced by the region's location along the old Silk Road; The Lanna Kingdom was a way-point for traders bringing spices from India to the markets of China.

Both laap versions can be served raw (known as laap dip in Thai and Laotian) and are still prepared this way today. Laap is also related to other minced meat dishes in Laos and Thailand like luu (raw minced meat seasoned with blood and lemongrass) and koi (a ceviche-style dish made with river mussels or snails). The easy preparation and affordability of the ingredients makes these dishes popular in the Isan region.

Included below is a version of laap known as laap plaa (fish laap). This dish is a Laotian-style laap and exhibits the classic flavors of lime, fish sauce and fresh herbs. Most, if not all, of the ingredients needed can be found at Southeast Asian Markets like World Foods in City Heights, Muang Lao Market (at 47th & Market) and Thuan Phat in Linda Vista.

Ingredients:

Garlic-Galangal paste:
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch piece of galangal, peeled and chopped
Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon (or to taste) of Thai chili powder, or cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar or brown sugar
Laap:
  • 1 pound of fillet of catfish or a white fish like mahi-mahi
  • 1 cup chopped, mixed herbs like Thai Sweet Basil (bai horapa), Vietnamese coriander (rau ram*), green onion (scallions), cilantro/coriander leaves (pak chee*)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted rice powder (see prep directions below)
  • ¼ cup chopped mint leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 medium sized shallots, sliced and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes

*Although rau ram and pak chee are translated as coriander leaves, they are different herbs.

Preparation:

For the paste:
  1. Roast the garlic and galangal over the burner of a gas stove, or in a broiler on low until slightly charred. (This will enhance the aroma and taste.)
  2. Grind or pound (with mortar and pestle) the galangal, garlic and a pinch of salt into a smooth paste. Set aside.
For the laap:
  1. Stirring constantly, toast 1 cup of uncooked sticky rice in a dry skillet on medium-high until aromatic and golden brown (10-15 minutes).
  2. Pound or grind the toasted rice into a course powder.*
  3. Cook the fish fillet in a skillet over medium heat, flipping once, until just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness.
  4. On a cutting board, chop the fish into uniform pieces, trying to maintain the integrity of the flesh.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the fish sauce, chili powder, lime juice and sugar together until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  6. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the fish, garlic-galangal paste, drained shallots, chopped herbs and fish sauce/lime dressing.
  7. Transfer the dish to a serving platter and sprinkle with the roasted rice powder and chopped mint leaves.
  8. Serve with sliced cucumber, raw green cabbage leaves and sticky rice.

*As the recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of toasted rice powder, you can store the remaining powder in an airtight container for future use.

Recipe and photos by Liam Fox
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