Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, may be small in size but its culinary offerings are nothing short of spectacular. The vibrant and diverse flavors of Lao cuisine are heavily influenced by neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. From aromatic herbs and spices to sticky rice and fresh vegetables, Lao cuisine offers a unique culinary experience that is not to be missed. Join us on a gastronomic journey as we explore some of the most delicious Laos dishes.
One of the most iconic dishes of Laos is Laap, a traditional salad made with minced meat (typically beef, chicken, or pork), mixed with fragrant herbs like mint, coriander, and basil, and seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce, and chili. The combination of flavors is simply divine, with the tanginess of the lime juice and fish sauce complementing the richness of the meat. Laap is often served as a main dish or as a side dish alongside steamed sticky rice, another staple in Lao cuisine.
Tam mak hoong, also known as green papaya salad, is another must-try dish in Laos. Made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, carrots, chili, garlic, lime juice, and fish sauce, this salad is a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The crispiness of the green papaya, the heat from the chili, and the sourness of the lime juice create a harmonious blend that is both refreshing and satisfying. Tam mak hoong is often enjoyed as a light and healthy appetizer or as a side dish.
For noodle lovers, Khao Soi is a dish that should not be missed. This hearty and flavorful soup is made with egg noodles, tender pieces of meat (such as chicken or beef), and a rich curry broth. The soup is then garnished with fried noodles, fresh cilantro, and lime. The combination of tender meat, silky noodles, and aromatic curry broth make Khao Soi a truly comforting and delicious dish that will warm your soul.
Or Lam is a traditional stew that features a mix of meat (commonly pork or buffalo), vegetables, and aromatic herbs. The dish is slow-cooked to perfection, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a rich and comforting stew. Ingredients such as galangal, lemongrass, and chilies add a depth of flavor to the dish. Or Lam is typically served with sticky rice and is a popular choice during special occasions and festivals in Laos.
Mok pa, or steamed fish in banana leaves, is a popular dish in Laos. Fresh fish, such as tilapia or catfish, is marinated with a paste made from local herbs and spices, wrapped in banana leaves, and then steamed to perfection. The result is a moist and flavorful fish that is infused with the fragrant aromas of the herbs and spices. Mok pa is often enjoyed with sticky rice and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
No culinary journey in Laos would be complete without indulging in the beloved dessert of sticky rice and mango. This simple yet irresistibly delicious dessert features sticky rice cooked to perfection and served with ripe and juicy mango slices. The combination of the sticky and slightly sweet rice with the juicy and fragrant mango creates a heavenly dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth.