Top 7 Popular Food in Laos

As the saying goes, "The unique features of a local environment always give special characteristics to its inhabitants", the Lao people along the Mekong River in a unique natural and cultural environment cultivate a unique Laotian cuisine. As a tourist, you could enjoy the traditional local cuisine and taste the cultural connotation of the Southeast Asian country at the large hotels or street stalls in Laos. Let's explore the top 7 popular food in Laos together!


1. Glutinous/Sticky rice (Khao Niaw)

Lao people's staple food is rice, especially the sticky rice, which accounts for almost 70% of the staple food. The sticky rice of Laos is of high viscosity, moderate hardness, sweet and delicious. At mealtime, the Laotians would put the glutinous rice in a bamboo basket, grab a ball of sticky rice, squeeze it with hands, and dip it in fish sauce, pepper, curry or other spices.

It's said that the sticky rice needs to be soaked in water at night before cooking the next morning, pick them up to a container with a lid, and then set in the pot with boiled water. That's why it's so sticky and tastes really good.

Top 7 Popular Food in Laos


2. Bamboo Rice

Lao bamboo rice is more delicious, because it is not steamed in a pot, but grilled over charcoal fire. It's also a representative of traditional Lao cuisine. There is not only rice but also the glutinous rice loved by Laotians; in addition, they added fish, coconut milk, coconut paste, and other ingredients into the Bamboo rice.

When barbecued, the rice is sealed with a banana leaf instead of a lid, and cooked when the tube is scorched. The fragrance of Lao bamboo rice is tangy, sweet and delicious.


3. Larb

During your trip to Laos, you can also find a delicacy called "Larb" in the specialty Lao restaurants, or you can call it Minced Meat Salad. Larb is a dish made with fresh fish, pork, chicken, beef, or venison minced and mixed with spices such as chili, cilantro, scallion, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce. In general, there are three different flavors of Larb, because the Lao people make three kinds of Larb: well-done, half-done and uncooked; each has its own characteristics and different nutritional values, making it a favorite of most visitors.


4. Khao Jee Sandwich

The Khao Jee sandwich is a French baguette with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, then spam, chopped ham and chili garlic sauce. This delicious snack is sold by almost every street vendor in Laos and can be found everywhere.


5. Laos Barbecue

In fact, Lao people's favorite dishes are all kinds of barbecued food, and there are many barbecue restaurants in the streets and lanes. Here, you can eat pork, chicken, fish and other common barbecue food also can eat other less seen barbecue food like frog, crab, etc. In addition, a variety of insects is a specialty snack in Laos. Brave people could taste other delicious insects like spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, etc.

Top 7 Popular Food in Laos


6. Papaya Salad (Tam Mak Hoong)

This salad is usually served as a side dish to roast meat. Unlike the Thai version, this one is made with fish and shrimp paste and lots of peppers, garlic and tomatoes. Lao people often make this dish very spicy, so it is recommended to eat with sticky rice to balance the spicy taste.

Top 7 Popular Food in Laos


7. Mok Pa (Steamed Fish in Banana Leaf)

This delicious fish is cooked with lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce and lots of chili. Wrap in banana leaves and steam until the fish is soft and juicy.

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