5 must-try cuisines in Laos
In Laos, food is the most important activity throughout the day. It is often the topic of many conversations, especially when eating and sharing dishes between friends and family. Additionally, Lao people take great passion in sharing traditional dishes with curious travelers.
1. Khao Niaw (Sticky rice)
Sticky rice is a staple throughout the country. It is commonly said that Lao citizens eat more sticky rice than anyone else in the world. It is traditionally steamed in a cone-shaped bamboo basket, and placed in a covered basket where it is eaten alongside many dishes. In Laos, there should always be sticky rice available to eat at any time of day.
2. Larb (Minced meat salad)
Larb is considered the national dish of Laos. The ingredient are minced pork fried with shallot, coriander, chilli and mint leaves, flavoured with fish sauce and lemon juice. Larb is an essential dish to pair with sticky rice.
3. Tam Bak Hung (Green papaya salad)
The Tam Bak Hung is made from shredded papaya, combines the five main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chilli, salty, savory fish sauce and sweetness added by palm sugar. Its origin in Lao, but served in different varieties around the region. This dish was imported to Bangkok by Lao immigrants, similar to Thailand's dish named Son Tam but a little different in ingredient which does not contain peanuts and usually made with fermented fish sauce. Other ingredients include palm sugar, lime, garlic, tomatoes, dried shrimp, chilli, raw eggplant.
4. Or lam (Stew)
It is a mildly spicy and thick Laotian stew mostly cooked with dried buffalo meat, beef, game meat or chicken, lemongrass, Sa Khan, chilies, mashed eggplants, wood ear mushrooms, and yard long bean. It is especially popular in Luang Prabang.
5. Sai Oua (Lao Sausage)
Lao-style sausages are an herb-infused meat that are unlike any other sausage you have tried before. These pork sausages are mixed with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves, shallots, cilantro, chillies, and fish sauce. You may also find another variant of this sausage in Laos, known as Soured Lao sausage. In addition to the above ingredients, sticky rice is included and the sausage sits outside for a couple of days before it becomes sour. Sausages are essential to many dishes, and must be eaten by hand with sticky rice.