10 Laotian Foods, Delicacy You Must Try

10 Laotian Foods, Delicacy You Must Try

Compared to neighboring Thailand, Laotian food may sound less resonant, but the country’s dishes are some of the best in Southeast Asia. Tucked between Thailand, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam, Laos offers food rich in flavors, spices, and simple and fresh ingredients.

Lao food is colorful and complemented by spices and chilies and the combination of ingredients is guaranteed to thrill the taste buds of the connoisseur. From Luang Prabang to Vientiane, tourists will discover how complex, yet refreshing, Lao cuisine tastes.

For those of you who have plans for a vacation to Laos, let’s look at the list of typical Laotian foods that you must try below!

  1. Khao Niew

As with other Asian countries, rice is perhaps the most basic food for Lao people. This is often the first rice dish that cooks learn at home, usually the women. For most people in Laos, Khao niew is a top choice. It’s like injera, which is a pancake-like flatbread, for the people of Ethiopia.

In Laos, sticky rice is cooked in Khao thip, which means “rice basket.” This flexible basket is made from dried stems of reeds. There is also a more elaborate version with a woven pattern on the sides as well as the lid. The size of the Khao tip varies, some are small, for individuals, to large enough, for families.

However, to cook Khao niew often use Khao thip with a larger size. The Khao thip found in restaurants are smaller in size and decorated with more elaborate decorations. The basket is used as a serving container after the rice is cooked in a larger basket.

Lao glutinous rice is of medium grain size, generally white in color, and somewhat pearly in color, although there are different varieties. Usually, the rice is steamed in a triangular Khao thip suspended over the water. Khao niew can also be formed into thin cakes after being steamed and then fried, which will expand and produce very crunchy rice cakes.

  1. Laap

On most menus, laap is simply translated as ‘meat salad’. Also, in English spelling is generally spelled as larb or lab, but phonetically laab or laap is the most accurate. Laap is one of the staple foods of the Lao people.

The word Laap refers to meat that is cooked immediately after slaughter. Always fresh, often eaten raw. This dish is a mainstay in local Lao cuisine. When visiting a restaurant, diners can choose any available meat, but most individual restaurants only specialize in laap fish or laap pork.

The meat will be minced and then quickly fried or kept raw if ordered raw while adding fish sauce and a variety of fresh spices―including Lao mint, coriander, and scallions―lime juice, and roasted glutinous rice flour. Laap’s distinctive taste is obtained from the rice powder.

All ingredients are then mixed until everything is evenly mixed. Bile can also be added to the local version of Lao Laap. This adds a unique bitterness to a plate of laap.

  1. Sai Oua

This fragrant Lao sausage is very similar to the popular sai oua sausage from northern Thailand. This Laotian specialty is grilled pork sausage topped with herbs and spices. Some of the main ingredients in sai oua sausage are galangal, lemongrass, fennel, red chilies, and coriander.

In Laos, usually, sai oua is served with sticky rice. Not as spicy as Thai sausage, this Lao pork sausage is very flavorful. This Laotian food is perfect to be enjoyed as a snack or as an appetizer.

If you go to Luang Prabang, tourists can also find a local Lao sausage called sai oua krouaille. This is black pepper grilled buffalo sausage.

  1. Mok Kai

If in Indonesia there is Pepes Fish, Pepes Chicken, and Pepes Mushrooms, in Laos there is also Pepes Minced Chicken called Mok Kai. This Laotian food is made by wrapping minced chicken mixed with a variety of local vegetables using banana leaves.

The chicken thighs or other parts are roughly chopped and seasoned, then mixed with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, and red chilies. In the end, it is sprinkled with soy sauce and then steamed. Mok kai is usually served hot with sticky rice, but it can also be put in the freezer for later consumption.

Another variant of mok kai can use bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, eggs, Khao khua (grilled glutinous rice powder), coconut milk, galangal, and garlic.

  1. Soop sir

Soop sir if in Sunda it is similar to lotek. This Laotian food usually consists of boiled vegetables mixed with spices. Sesame seeds are the most important ingredient in soo pak to give it its unique nutty taste. To taste soop pak, tourists can visit a Lao food stall that sells a variety of stew and jaew (sauce). The shop may have various variants of soup, sir. In addition, soop pak can be found at the night market next to the pedestrian street in historic Luang Prabang.

  1. Khao Piak Sen

Khao Piak Sen is a chewy noodle soup that has a consistency similar to Udon, but this Lao dish is made from rice instead of wheat. This dish in Laos is considered comfort food.

Generally, Khao piak sen is made from pork or chicken, galangal, lemon grass, garlic, shallots, bean sprouts, chopped coriander leaves, and added with fresh lime wedges.

The broth is the most important factor. The ingredients are bones that are selected to get the best taste and should be cooked over low heat. In many restaurants, this food can be added with sugar, dry chili powder, chili sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce according to taste.

  1. Tam Mak Hoong

It is said that the green papaya salad was made by the Lao people and then brought to central Thailand by Lao immigrants. This variety of Laotian dishes can be found throughout Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia and in Thailand, this Laotian specialty is known as som tam.

In Laos this food can be found sold in roadside stalls and vendors will prepare the salad ingredients in a mortar and pound it with a traditional pestle. There is a difference between Lao and Thai salads, namely in the way they are served.

In Laos, unripe papaya is sliced ​​into wide and thin strips, but in Thailand raw papaya is prepared by the grating. The ingredients used include lime, dried shrimp, garlic, chili, tomato garlic, and padaek, which is Laotian fermented fish sauce.

  1. Muu Haeng

Muu haeng is a typical Laotian food in the form of thinly sliced ​​pork. The meat chosen is usually the shoulder. While siin haeng is beef that is thinly sliced ​​and generally comes from hard and fatty cuts of meat, such as the top.

Both variations are marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, black soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chopped coriander, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, and ginger, both of which flavor and tenderize the meat. Muu haeng and siin haeng are more often served as snacks with jaew bong (chili sauce). Can also be with rice to complete the meal.

  1. Or Lam

This Laotian stew is commonly associated with Luang Prabang. This Laotian food mixes cuts of meat with Laotian spices. The spices include coriander, lemongrass, basil, fennel, galangal, and sakhan, which are stems from wild vines that make lam spicy.

Other ingredients used are garlic, onions, and eggplant which are the base of the gravy. To complete this meal, crispy rice balls, various vegetables, and grilled meat are added, which are generally beef, chicken, buffalo, or pork. But fish can also be used. This is a less common variant.

  1. Khao Piak Khao

Khao Piak Khao is a porridge made from jasmine rice which is popular in Thailand and Laos. This rice porridge is generally served as a breakfast menu or an appetizer. If you’ve ever known chicken congee from China or chicken porridge from Indonesia, Khao piak khao is also similar to that. This porridge is often made as comfort food.

The key to the delicacy of this dish is that the rice when it is cooked has to get the right consistency. The difference between the Lao and Thai versions of khao piak khao is in the sauce. The Lao version is seasoned with boiled ginger, lemon grass, fried onions, and lime leaves for a rich gravy.

The advantage of khao piak khao also lies in the way the sauce is used to cook rice, so the Lao version of porridge is superior to versions from other countries. This thick porridge made from the broth is served with a variety of toppings, ranging from green onions, fried shallots, and a variety of fresh vegetables.

These neighboring country of Thailand and Vietnam turns out to have food that is no less interesting than the two countries. Although rarely appear but this food is famous among tourists. The ingredients used combine vegetables and meat.

Maybe you’ve tasted Thai food before. Well, now is the time to try Laotian food. Interested in trying?