Laos cuisine

Lao cuisine is very different from the cuisines of other SE Asian cultures and has features that it does not generally share with its neighbors. The Lao food tradition does not belong only to the country of Laos, but to the ethnic Lao people many of whom are inhabitants of Northern and Northeastern Thailand. Indeed, Thailand has more Lao people than Laos! As a result, Lao food is well known, and popular, throughout Thailand and especially in Bangkok.
The typical food of Lao people is steamed sticky rice eaten by bare hands directly. The fact shows that the people of this country eat the highest amount of sticky rice than any other group in the world. People consider sticky rice as a part of their national essence which creates their country “Lao”. Most Lao people believe themselves as "Luk Khao Niaow" which is translated to English as "children of sticky rice". Lao fish sauce (padaek), lemongrass, and galangal are the most 3 important ingredients in Lao cuisine. The most well-known dish in Laos is Larb, a spicy combination of marinated meat and (or) fish which is quite raw with greens, herbs, and spices. Another typical dish of the country is a spicy green papaya salad (tam mak hoong) or more widely-known to the Western people as “som tam”.
Lao food has numerous regional differences basing on the fresh foods of that area. For example, being affected by the French, people easily see the French restaurants (serving Lao and other Asian countries’ food) and French baguettes sold everywhere in the capital city Vientiane.
The traditional methods of cooking in Laos including boiling, steaming, grilling stewing, searing, and mixing (applied for salads). Stir-frying is now becoming more common but still believed to be a Chinese affection. Stew makes the dish healthy and green in color due to the large number of vegetables used to cook as well as the yanang leaf. Soups (stews) are classified as keng, keng soua, tom, and tom jeud. Keng is a soup cooked with ginger and padek while keng soua is a combination of ginger and galangal. Tom Jeud is the only soup without strong spices, so its taste is mild. In the Laos language, "Keng" means “stew” and "Tom" means “soup”.
Grilled (ping) is one of the most favorite cooking methods of Lao people. Before starting the grilled process, the meat is seasoned with a suitable proportion of minced galangal, garlic, coriander root, salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Lao people prefer to grill food at the low heat for such a long time. Therefore, the final dish is often drier than the one cooked by the Western method. Additionally, the dry meat/fish will also keep their hands clean for eating sticky rice. The sauce to be served with grilled food is hot but tasty.

Laos cuisine

Lao cuisine is different from other Southeast Asia countries in various aspects. The 1st thing is that most of Lao dish uses a large quantity of raw greens, fresh vegetables, and herbs. The 2nd thing is that dishes are not sweet. The combination of sweet and sour flavors is generally considered strange and unfamiliar in Laos. The 3rd thing is that some Laos dishes taste bitter. Therefore, people always tell a typical saying in their traditional cuisine which mentions that "sweet makes you dizzy; bitter makes you healthy" (in Laos language: Van pen lom; khom pen ya). Some green herbs are favored in Lao dishes but totally ignored by their neighbored countries are galangal, mint, and dill. Another unique characteristic of Lao food or Lao eating habits is that food is usually served at the normal room temperature. This may be related to the typical tradition that Lao people eating food with sticky rice by their hands.
Lao people ‘s traditional eating manner was communal. They usually sit on a reed mad lying on the wooden floor surrounded by a woven platform out of rattan which is called a ka toke. Standard-sized dishes are also set up on the ka toke. They will prepare the suitable ka tokes basing on the number of diners on that day. Each ka toke will contain baskets of sticky rice shared by all people. Traditionally, people eat soups and rice with spoons, and noodles with chopsticks. Other food was eaten by bare hands.
The typical meal of the country includes soup, grilled food, sauce, raw greens (herbs and fresh vegetables), stewed (mixed) dish. Dishes are not eaten consecutively; the soup is always eaten with the main food throughout the meal. Beverages are not an important part of the meal. Lao people always prepare the quantity of food much larger than the number of diners coming to the meal because if the food is not enough for not guests, they would be considered humiliating.

Laos typical food

Lao coffee, as known as Pakxong coffee, plays an important role in the Lao people’s daily life. The custom here is to drink coffee with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom in glasses, followed by a cup of green tea.
Two typical traditional alcohol produced from rice are “lao hai” and “lao lao”. Lao hai means alcohol served from an earthen jar which is shared for drinking through straws at festivals. Its taste and appearance make people think about sake. Lao lao (Lao alcohol or while alcohol in English) seems to be similar to whiskey which is produced from both white and purple rice.
Nowadays, the national brewery's Beerlao has become developed and well-known in Laos and is highly appreciated by both local people and foreign tourists.

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