[NLS Story Series] Cooking up beautiful transformations

NEW LAO STOVE Story Series

The NLS story series tells of stories of people – their past, their struggles, and most of all, their successes and hopes – in rural Cambodia and how their beautiful journey is in part defined by their having crossed paths with the New Lao Stove.

The stories of Ouk Chan and Sok Un Thy, NLS users.



We came upon Ouk Chan, 52, at her home in Kampong Chnnang just as she was cooking pork soup for lunch. Her two New Lao Stoves, blackened by soot from apparent constant use, lay waiting as she prepared the meat and the vegetables. Over those past years, she says, she has purchased four stoves, each one lasting a little over two years. Having purchased each stove for USD2.00 directly from a neighbor who produces New Lao Stoves, she proudly says that her investment is so worth it.

And the length of service of the stove is not all that she’s happy about; she also raves about her money savings on firewood: from previously consuming each month two carts-full of wood which she purchased for USD12.5 each cart, she claims her wood consumption has been halved. That makes her naturally happy, and so it does her husband and two children who have long noted that the food tastes better, presumably, because of the controlled smoke coming from the stove.


That the food should taste good was not the only consideration for Sok Un Thy when she chose stoves for her new food business. She was looking for strong, durable stoves that could handle the big pots and pans that she was going to use for her eatery. She did not know about the New Lao Stove, but it’s all she saw sold in the Pong Ro market near which she was going to put up her road-side restaurant. This was in 2014.

“The New Lao Stove looked sturdy and beautiful,” Sok Un Thy says.

And the stoves have indeed proven to be durable. A year after purchasing her first batch of stoves, all seven of them – from the biggest to the medium-sized – are still serving her well, helping her cook the 6 to 7 dishes that she prepares everyday for customers.

“I had used other stoves before at my home, and those stoves often broke after three months. Compared to the New Lao Stoves, they also produced so much more smoke which sometimes got into the food. These stoves cook faster too, which is important for my food business,” she says.


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