What is เฮือนลาบ?

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What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:05 pm

I saw เฮือนลาบ on a sign in a food plaza in Udon recently. I would guess that it is pronounced 'heu-an' and clearly, it is some kind of laab / spiced mince. But of what? So far, I can locate the syllable เฮือน on a couple of Thai sites, but can find no translation for it. It isn't an obvious meat (chicken, pork) because those were also separately listed. Clues and suggestions welcome.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:23 pm

Sorry - the Thai script doesn't seem to have rendered itself into the subject menu. Any way to fix that?
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Roel » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:51 pm

Cannot really find anything either. Staff here in Phuket tell me it is kam neua คำเหนือ and the dish is a northern Thai dish. They cannot tell me what it is, but it probably has to do with the way it is prepared. If you look for Google Images with เฮือนลาบ you see all kinds of different dishes, so no real help there either. I also found a facebook page of a heuan laab restaurant in Lamphun. Sorry cannot be of more help as my เมียหลวง who is from Chiang Rai is working in Bangkok at present. As she hardly speaks any English no use trying to consult her on the phone. Keep me posted if you find out more, so will I.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:34 pm

Roel - I did actually wonder, based on google content, whether it was simply an Isan / Lao word for assorted, various or even mixed (as in mixed meats) laab.

There is a reference on http://www.thai-language.com/ to the Royal Institute Dictionary (1982) entry for เฮือน which seems to suggest that it is Isan and West Thai dialect word (การใช้: ถิ่น-อีสาน; ถิ่น-พายัพ translates to "Using Locality - East[Isan]; Locality - West"). Unfortunately, it isn't clear that any part of that entry is an actual meaning for heu-an.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Roel » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:02 pm

I just found a PDF-file of the Peace Corps's Northern-Thai Dictionary (consisting of poor quality photocopies) and it says เฮือน means 'house' (see screen shot here under). So now does house-laab mean a kind of cozy place that feels like home and sells laab or laab cooked home-style (like grandmother did). Linguistically it should be the first of course. But maybe they use the dialect word for 'house' to indicate that the laab originates from where the dialect originates.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:08 pm

Kind of like the house special? I guess that would fit. 'Home style' also seems reasonable. Good find!
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:25 pm

Richard Charles' 'Speak Isaan Thai' vol 1 & 2 have เฮีน (which could be a mis-spelling of เฮิน {note the vowel change}) as a word for house.

Asger Mollerup's 'Thai-Isan-Lao Phrasebook' actually uses เฮือน directly, as a translation for บ้าน in Isan dialect.

So it would seem to definitely to be a local word for house. Remains only to see if the semantic is 'the house laab', or 'home style laab'.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Roel » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:45 pm

Discrepancy in spelling is customary as non-standard dialects have only a spoken form and no official written form. When studying dialects you will always encounter several spelling variations. It also seems to be both a northern and a north-eastern word which is also not unusual. Although the Isaan members of the staff here still insist it is northern Thai, not Isaan or Lao.

I think it means the Laab House (Laab Restaurant) so what you saw on the sign must have been the name of the place selling it, not a particular dish on a list of menu items. Can you confirm that?
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:13 pm

OK. The Mollerup book actually has the same word as the standard Lao word and spelling for house. http://www.thai-isan-lao.com/ - top left book. It certainly comes over as being of Lao derivation from what I have here.

I found the spelling in the Speak Isaan Thai book ambiguous (IMHO), because with เฮิ it would be more obviously a 'heu' sound, whereas with เฮี , it look more like an aw-ang, or yaw yak has been missed out of an 'ia' or 'eua' vowel.

The label could have been the name of the stall - but it wasn't significantly different in style type or size to other words which were more obvious, such as Laab-Gai. It was certainly more central, giving it a relative prominance relative to others but it was just a food stall in the UD town food plaza rather than any restaurant type of building.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Roel » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:16 am

Okay, so we can conclude that เฮือน is Laotian for 'house'. Isaan dialect (or language if you like) is derived from Lao but to quote from http://www.learnspeakthai.com: "Different words in the Lao language: The Lao language contains many words not actively used in Isaan Thai".

Another possibility would be that the Isaan version has become obsolete or is now an archaic term used by the elderly only. Although I must admit this is unlikely but it happens.
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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Dannie Boy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:47 am

Maybe Korkenzieher can go back to the restaurant and ask them the meaning?

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Re: What is เฮือนลาบ?

Post by Korkenzieher » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:48 am

I was figuring there's enough Isan ladies in town to test the theories out.
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