Janit Saechao

Janit presented at Tender Table on February 10, 2018 in the kitchen of Yale Union in Portland, OR.

Photo courtesy of Janit Saechao

Photo courtesy of Janit Saechao


Janit Saechao is a fat, brown Iu-Mien and Khmu femme whose identities as an indigenous person and first generation child of refugees informs the way they navigate their day-to-day. Their roots reach from Richmond, CA to Portland, OR, while they call Laos their motherland. They find their greatest joys in creating whether that be through writing, painting, zine-making, or cooking for their loved ones, and spend much of their time daydreaming of a future for their people that allows them to return to what they have always known; to forage, feed, thrive and be, freely and communally as they once lived.  

One sentence to describe yourself and where you came from: Fat brown Iu Mienh + Khmu, w/ roots in Richmond, CA to the mountains of Northern Laos

What will you be presenting on? Food foraging and how it was/still is a vital part of my peoples' cuisine and overall survival.

Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: Add soy sauce in your water before boiling eggs, the shells will come off w/ no struggle.

If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: Probably bun bo hue... but any noodle soup, really.

Favorite food: All seafood!

Recommended reading: Afterland by Mai Der Vang

Best meals: My mom's cooking. And Southeast Asian food in general. Yes to all the fish sauce and fermented things.

Food you’d like to try: Fresh duck blood pudding. Bonus if its prepared and shared w/ loved ones in Laos. I've seen it made and eaten by relatives around me as a child but never got to try it. I love that traditionally, nothing ever goes to waste.

Additional comments: Food is a huge, major part of my identity, my happiness, my survival