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15 must-try dishes in Laos

Lao cuisine is a bit like Thailand, but the Laotians are less fond of sweetness. They love the bitter taste and often use herbs in their meals, making recipes that are very unique and appealing.

1. Dancing shrimps

This dish is considered a specialty in Laos, raw shrimp caught on the Mekong River is freshly squeezed with lemon, and the shrimp will be undercooked with spices eaten raw with sauce.

dancing shrimp

2. Rice

Rice is very respected in Laos. Lao people especially like to eat sticky rice (khao nyao) even though ordinary rice (khao chao) and rice vermicelli (khao poon) are also very popular. Family members eat rice from a shared rattan basket or have one bowl each person. Sticky rice is eaten by hand. They will shape the rice into small balls, and then use it as a spoon to scoop and swirl the food from the plate into its mouth, or dab it in the dipping sauce.

3. Lap

The Laotian traditional festival food, and also their closest ethnic dish, is called a Lap, meaning “good luck”. Sausage is a banquet dish, often served on special occasions or for honorable guests, compared with a Mexican barbecue or a Mexican ceviche steak. Sausage is made from minced beef, deer meat (or buffalo meat, fish) with chopped mint vegetables and lemon juice.

Lap Laos

4. Pho Lao

Lao people also love Vietnamese food, the most popular dish is pho. Pho is served with a separate plate of vegetables, including lettuce, mint, and bamboo shoots that can be added to the broth.

5. Insects

This protein-rich food is found in abundance in Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. The Laotians also love to use insects to prepare many dishes. From rice crickets, ant eggs to belostomatid, spiders in fried, stir-fried, peanuts, and steamed rice or vinegar are all delicious. The most expensive is still the belostomatid – a useful insect that lives in Cambodian fields with a spicy flavor.

Laos insects dishes

6. Papaya salad

Tam Lao is a version of a young papaya salad with black crab, dried shrimp, tomatoes, and a spicy Lao fish sauce. This dish usually has a characteristic pungent taste with a lot of chilies. Diners can squeeze more lemon or kumquat to increase the attractive flavor of the dish.

Laos papaya salad

7. Steamed fish

Pa Mak Now is a steamed fish dish that often appears in family meals and restaurants in Laos. A chef will stuff rice and herbs into fish in well-designed bamboo tubes or aluminum pots and grill over red charcoal or steam. The taste of the fish dish is extremely delicious and attractive.

Mok pa

8. Pumpkin

Thot Mak Ew is a pumpkin dish marinated with chili, garlic, onions, and shrimp paste. Squash is not sticky and changes in texture but is crisp, aromatic, and rich.

9. Mixed Noodle

Coconut Khaopoon consists of fresh rice vermicelli mixed with galangal, lemongrass, and chili, but it is not too spicy. Coconut milk sprinkled on top increases the sweetness of the dish. The dish can come with bean sprouts, cabbage, or basil.

10. Grilled chicken

Ping Gai is a grilled chicken that is sold in roadside stalls all over Laos but is famous in Seno town, Savannakhet province. Chicken is grilled whole, skewered into bamboo sticks, marinated in golden color, fragrant.

Laos grilled chicken

11. Sausage

Sai Oua Kuang is a delicious herbal pork sausage. Each place has its own way of marinating, creating a special appeal.

Sai Oua Kuang

12. Fried seaweed

Kaipen (or kai paen) is a kind of Lao snack made from freshwater green algae harvested from the Mekong River in northern Laos. Once washed, the algae are pressed into thin sheets and marinated with garlic and sesame seeds before it is dried in the sun.

The best way to eat kaipen is by frying the plates until crispy and eating with jaew bong – this dipping sauce is a combination of grilled chili and thin buffalo skin.

13. Bread

Khao jee is an example of the influence of French cuisine on Lao cuisine. The sandwich consists of lettuce, sliced ​​tomato, carrot, onion, moo yor (pork lunch), ham and topped with chili or chili sauce.
You will find many street vendors selling this Lao mobile street food for quite a cheap price. Khao jee is usually enjoyed for breakfast, along with a solid black cup of coffee.

14. Stewed vegetables

Or lam is a spicy and thick Lao stew that originated from Luang Prabang. It contains beans, eggplant, lemongrass, basil, peppers, mushrooms, coriander, and scallions.

A unique ingredient in this stew is mai sa kaan, a locally grown grape that is not exactly edible (you have to chew it and spit it out). Or blue also contains dried buffalo meat, beef, or chicken.

15. Grilled fish

Going to any stall in Vientiane, you can easily see Pingpa grilled fish with lime leaves and coriander. The fish meat is grilled until golden brown, smelled, and served with sticky rice.

Ping pa

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Contents1. Dancing shrimps2. Rice3. Lap4. Pho Lao5. Insects6. Papaya salad7. Steamed fish8. Pumpkin9. Mixed Noodle10. …

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