Laos travel guide
Lao food is traditionally eaten with sticky rice, with the fingers. In the countryside, people will all eat family style, sitting on the floor, sharing a few dishes. Traditional Lao food is dry, spicy and very delicious. The food eaten in Laos is influenced by its neighbours and the colonial French.
Here are some favourites:
Laap, a traditional Lao food is made from chopped meat, chicken or duck is a favourite. The finely chopped meat, spices and broth is mixed with uncooked rice grains that have been dry fried, and crushed. Laap is eaten with a plate of raw vegetables and sticky rice.
Tam Mak Houng is a salad made from sliced raw papaya, garlic, chile, peanuts, sugar, fermented fish sauce and lime juice - it can be extremely spicy, so be careful!
Som moo is fermented pork sausage, found in many forms. The sausage is made from raw pork - sometimes lean, sometimes pork skin. Som moo may be eaten raw or cooked. A mixture of som moo, tam mak koung and laap make a popular Lao lunchtime meal.
Barbequed som moo, served Vietnamese style is popular in Laos. Known as Naem Nuang, it is served with transparent rice paper, thin noodles and lots of herbs, vegetables, lettuce and a sauce. You take all the ingredients, and build your own spring roll - watch the locals to see how it is done.
Foe (pronounced like the British English 'fur') is the name for noodle soup, which can be found everywhere in Laos. It is simailar in style to the chinese noodle soup found allover Asia.
French Baguettes are found in the larger towns, served for breakfast, filled as a sandwich with pate, moo yor (a pork lunchmeat), vegetables, and chile sauce. Baguettes are also dunked into coffee for breakfast.
As well as French bread, you will find a lot of salad in Laos. The traditional lao diet includes a lot of raw vegetables - but the French left the tossed salad behind. In Luang Prabang, they make a delicious salad made from watercress.