Laos dishes might not be highly appreciated in the culinary map of Southeast Asia. However, there is always good impressive food, making you remember forever when leaving.
1. Sticky rice (Klao niaw)
Rice is a highly valued food in Laos particularly sticky rice, although normal rice (Khao Chao) and vermicelli rice (Khao poon) are also very popular here. Family members in Laos usually eat rice from a common bowl or a bowl per person, sticky rice is eaten by hand. When eaten, the Laotians will make sticky rice into small cubes, and then use it as a spoon to dredge and slide the food into the mouth, or put into the sauce. Deinla, the chef of Phu Doi restaurant in Luang Prabang shared the secret to creating the perfect sticky rice: “it should be soaked in water overnight, then rinse several times before being steamed in a bamboo basket”. In addition, Khao Lam is also a great dish that you’ll enjoy (glutinous rice will be put inside a bamboo tube and baked under fire).
In the Lao language, Laap means good luck, symbolizing wish for peace. Raw materials for this dish can be beef, pork, chicken … and mixed with chopped liver with chilli, lemon juice, and galangal. After mixing, the Laap will be served with raw vegetables like lettuce fish, lettuce, string beans … all blended together creating an extremely attractive aroma. Sour taste of the lime juice, spicy chili, aroma of spices … gives visitors an excusive and imprssive moments.
3. Tam Mak Houng
The Lao papaya salad is called Tam Mak Houng here. The selected papaya fruit is not too unripe but also not too ripe. After being grated papaya into fibers, papaya will be milled lightly. Spices include lemon juice, shrimp sauce, eggplant, peppers, chillies. When eating Lao papaya salad the aroma of spices mixed with the sour taste will give a definitely different flavor which is unlike any dish sold anywhere else. Most restaurants, cafes in Laos serve this dish.
4. Crispy French bread
Due experienced a long period of French colonial, French cuisine is so popular in Laos that we can find it everywhere easily, especially in the restaurant in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In particular, baguette or crispy French bread is popular breakfast in Laos. Laotians are often embedded in a cappuccino baguette to eat, or eat eggs fried or stuffed with pate in such sandwich.
Khausoy is a famous dish in Luang Prabang, it looks similar with Pho but the raw ingredients are much simpler and tastes delicious. Khausoy broth is just boiled water and then big fiber noodles are added. Then, pour the soup and noodle into a bowl and put khausoy in, served with raw spinach, vegetables, pepper, shallots, chili. Khausoy is the most important ingredient of this dish, made of milled pork, tomatoes, garlic, spices of all kinds.
Tips for culinary exploration when traveling to Laos
• If you are interested in finding out and learning how to cook Lao dishes, there are lots of cooking centers for tourists in Luang Prabang and Vientiane
• To further experience culinary style and how to create food sources at the country, you can visit Vang Vieng organic farms.
• Sylvie, a French-Japanese chef, who has lived in Laos since 1996, the owner of the Coconut Garden Restaurant in Luang Prabang and Kua Lao in capital city of Vientiane, will give you the great delicacies of the cuisine of Laos.
• Phu Doi Restaurant at Kiridara hotel in Luang Prabang is the ideal place for you to enjoy the delights of Laos and look at the charming landscape of Mount Phousi.
• For those who love to enjoy street food, you should not ignore a small alley to the west of Luang Prabang Night Market, which is often known as the “Street Food”. The culinary delicacies of Laos at extremely cheap prices are sold popularly here.