My Kitchen Rules in Plim­mer­ton


A taste of Laos is be­ing made in Plim­mer­ton.

Best friends and for­mer refugees Dai Phonevilay and Dal Philavong are cre­at­ing tra­di­tional South­east Asian sauces in the kitchen at Plim­mer­ton Boat­ing Club.

The pair are pro­vid­ing time­poor home cooks with au­then­tic Asian pastes they are sell­ing un­der the name A Taste of Lao.

Phonevilay said the pastes were avail­able for peo­ple who didn’t have the time or know-how to get the right bal­ance.

She said it could take a cou­ple of hours just to source the 13 in­gre­di­ents in the paste.

‘‘Just cook­ing these sauces can take some­one half a day,’’ she said. ‘‘With our pow­ers com­bined we have cre­ated some­thing that takes just 10 min­utes.’’

The sauces are al­ready stocked in four lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Moore Wil­son’s in Welling­ton. Now the women are plan­ning for global dom­i­na­tion.

They have two prod­ucts avail­able, a Tom Khem paste and a Larb paste. Phonevilay said she al­ways made the Tom Khem paste for friends and fam­i­lies and re­alised other peo­ple would ap­pre­ci­ate the prod­uct.

‘‘Not ev­ery­one knows how to cook from scratch.’’

She said larb, which means lucky, was a tra­di­tional South­east Asian food dish of­ten served at spe­cial events. The prod­ucts have re­ceived a seal of ap­proval from friends and fam­ily.

‘‘The fact that our par­ents will use our prod­ucts says some­thing about it. It’s very close to how you would make it tra­di­tion­ally.’’

The pair met as young Laos refugees grow­ing up in Porirua and Wainui.

Philavong said she looked af­ter the pro­duc­tion side of things and her best friend took care of pro­mo­tions and sales. ‘‘She talks and I don’t.’’ The women are well known for their stint on the Masterchef cook­ing show and hope their pub­lic pro­file will help their busi­ness suc­ceed.

They do every­thing them­selves from the cook­ing to the su­per­mar­ket tast­ings.

Phonevilay said the prod­ucts were de­signed for fam­i­lies and they have a third sauce com­ing out in Septem­ber.

‘‘They aren’t spicy, peo­ple can add their own spice if they want.’’

Phonevilay said the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a refugee had helped her strive for suc­cess. ‘‘I’m a sin­gle mum and I want to set an ex­am­ple for my daugh­ter.’’

Dal Philavong, left, and Dai Phonevilay are cre­at­ing a Taste of Lao in Porirua.

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