9 must-try dishes that you should not miss when travel to Laos

by TAA on October 17, 2021

When traveling in the Land of million elephants, don't forget to enjoy sticky rice, grilled chicken or Lao Noodle, delicious specialties, once eaten, remember forever.

Coming to Laos, besides exploring the famous architectural works of the country such as That Luang , a more-than-400-year-old Buddhist temple, you can also enjoy many delicious specialties. If you are a foodie, you should never miss these 9 delicacies.

1. Khao Niao (Lao sticky rice)

Lao people admit that they have a habit of eating sticky rice (Khao Niao) every day. This cereal is an important ingredient that appears in the cuisine of most agricultural countries in Southeast Asia. However, sticky rice is usually only considered as a filling dish, while in Laos, sticky rice is the main dish and indispensable in every daily meal.

In the meals, sticky rice is served in a bamboo woven basket called Thip Khao. Lao people eat sticky rice by using their right hand to "pick up" some sticky rice and eat it with meat or vegetables.

2. Laap Laos (Minced meat salad)

Laap, also known as "larb", a kind of salad with ingredients is minced pork other kinds of meat, are prided as the “National dish” of Laos. This salad is best when served with sticky rice and raw vegetables.

People often use pork, chicken, beef or fish ... cook and chop, then mix them with culantro, basil, mint, pepper, chilli and seasoning with salt to make it more flavorful. The secret of this dish is roasted rice - an important ingredient to create the characteristic aroma of the dish.

3. Nam Khao

Laos cuisine is not complete without its famous delicious sticky rice. However, besides the famous Khao Niao, Lao people found a way to turn the leftover sticky rice into a new dish called Nam Khao, or fried sticky rice. Nam Khao consists of sticky rice stir dried with ​​onions, peanuts, herbs, and some slices of Som Moo (Laos fermented pork sausage).

Som Moo gives Nam Khao a sour flavor, which make the dish less greasy and more delicious.

4. Khao soi (Pho Lao)

Like Vietnamese Pho, the main ingredient of Khao Soi is flat rice noodle. The noodle will be blanched in boiling water and then topped with Khao Soi - a mixture of minced pork, garlic, tomatoes, and spices

Then, the cook will pour pork broth, which was made from pork, simmered with fish sauce, lime leaves, galangal, garlic, chives, chili and perilla, into the bowl. Sometimes, you can find Khao Soi made with vermicelli.

5. Papaya salad

Laos Papaya salad or Tam Mak Houng can be consider the highlight of Laos cuisine. Coming here, you can easily find papaya salad sold anywhere from small markets, food vendors on the sides of the streets to luxury restaurants.

To make papaya salad, Lao people use grated papaya, add minced garlic, chili, chopped tomatoes, season with sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce.... and mix together. Finally, sprinkle on top of the dish with herbs and roasted peanuts to make it more fragrant. Papaya salad has a typical sweet and sour taste.

6. Sai Ua (Lao Sausage)

Lao sausage is a popular street food in night markets. This dish is made from minced pork belly, marinated with herbs, pepper and chili, then smoked.

An indispensable part that gives the dish an irresistible taste is the dipping sauce. The sauce is made from mixture of pureed chili, lemongrass, garlic, onion and lemon juice. The sour, spicy and sweet of dipping sauce perfectly highlights the aroma and fatty smoked sausages.

Besides the traditional smoked sausages, you can also try Lao fermented sausages and spicy sausages made from buffalo meat.

7. Ping Kai (Grilled Chicken)

Traveling to Laos, you will also see Ping Kai - grilled chicken sold at almost every roadside stall in the country, but the most famous Lao grilled chicken can be found in Seno town in Savannakhet.

Although it is a famous dish of Laos, the processing of this dish is quite simple. The chef will cut the chicken in half, marinate it with spices, then put it on bamboo skewers, and grill it on a charcoal stove to create an irresistible delicious smell and taste. This dish is served with a dipping sauce made from mixture of fish sauce, garlic, turmeric, coriander root and white pepper.

8. Ping Pa (grilled fish)

Going to any food stalls in Vientiane, you can easily find some selling Ping Pa (Lao grilled fish with lemon leaves and coriander). Fish are grilled on a charcoal grill until golden, well cooked and emits a typical aroma.

Enjoy Ping Pa with a cool glass of beer will bring you a marvelous feeling that no words can describe.

9. Khao Nom Krok (grilled coconut cake)

Khao Nom Krok or coconut cake is a Lao sweet dessert. The cake is made from coconut milk, sugar, rice flour and baked in a small round cake mold until it turns golden.

The two halves of the cake are cooked separately and then stacked together like a sandwich.


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