LAOS FOOD GUIDE:
- EATING RICE:
90% of the Lao people consume sticky rice. The basket in which the rice is served is called tikao or kongkao and is portable. Glutinous or sticky rice is the staple food of Laos. Sticky rice is eaten with every meal in Laos and so it is very important to be able to eat with it correctly. The rice crop is the carbohydrate that keeps people in Laos alive and since it is the glutinous rice variety that contains very high amounts of starch and carbohydrates per grain.
In fact the call for people to eat “Kin Khao” literally means “Eat rice!”
- Green Papaya Salad (Tam Mak Hoong)
Green Papaya Salad is typically made with shreds of unripe papaya. It is of Lao origin, but served in different varieties around the region. Green Papaya Salad was a dish imported to Bangkok from Lao immigrants. It is similar to Thailand’s Som Tam dish, but does not contain peanuts and is usually made with fermented fish sauce. Other ingredients include palm sugar, lime, garlic, tomatoes, dried shrimp, chilis, and raw eggplant. All of these ingredients are pounded together in a traditional mortar and pestle.
- Baguette Paté (Khao Jii Paté)
Due to its French influence, delicious baguettes are commonly found on many streets in Laos. This baguette sandwich largely resembles a Vietnamese Banh Mi, but instead of using cilantro and pickles, the Lao version consists of watercress, grated carrots, and a good amount of chile-garlic sauce. It is a quick meal that can be enjoyed on the go for either breakfast or lunch.
- Lao Sausages (Sai Uah, Sai Gok)
Lao-style sausages are an herb-infused meat that is 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.
- Lao Beer (Bia Lao)
While Lao beer is not technically food, it is an essential companion of any dish when you’re in the country. It is the most famous brand of beer found in Laos, and widely considered to be the best tasting beer in the region.
- Steamed Fish (Mok Pa)
Mok Pa is steamed fish that is typically wrapped up in banana leaves and tied with bamboo string. It is prepared with lemongrass, kaffir leaves, green onions, fish sauce, green chilis, shrimp paste, and fresh dill. All these ingredients are mixed together with steamed fish.