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A Taste of Lao Foods

Updated on March 14, 2011

Laos -- A taste of Laos, the people and culture

Now, let us go to another country in the Southeast Asia, Laos. Laos is a country located in Southeastern Asia and bordered by Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and Cambodia. Most people are Buddhist like the rest of its neighbors. Laotians have a culture which is similar to the nearby countries. Altough majority live below the poverty line, they are rich in culture and tradition, plus they live modestly.

Laos was considered a France protectorate until it gained independence until 1949 and then it was under a civil strife until the Pathet Lao (communist) gained control of the country. The literacy rate is above fifty percent and the fertility rate is four for woman of reproductive age.

larb -- Lao salad meat -- minced meat (cooked or fresh) with ingredients like lime and sauce from fish, onions and herbs, with pounded rice

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos -- this is a golden Buddhist place of worship -- a national monument and national symbol of Laos

Foods in Lao - Some facts about Laos


Foods in Lao are a bit mixture of sour, taste, sweet and spicy and the use of herbs, spices are somewhat similar to the neighboring countries.

Vientiane is the capital of the country. The official language is Lao and they have Laotian script. People are called Lao or Laotian.

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Laos food culture in general :

  • They are the same in foods characteristics to their neighboring countries but they are distinct in their own food culture -- a saying in Laos says that - sweet makes you dizzy; bitter makes you healthy --

The weather in Laos is conducive to tropical fruits and vegetables. Rice is the staple food -- sticky rice or glutinous rice which they served with other dishes as complement.

Sticky rice grounded how to make

The foods in Laos

Rice in Laos

Staple food is rice and is complemented with other dishes. Their rice is sticky which is also called glutinous rice. People usually eat rice with their bare hands and mixed it with other dishes.

Rice in Laos can be combined with other dishes to produce another meal

  • like nam khao -- "fried rice ball salad with lettuce wraps"
  • fried rice lao style -- khao khua
  • Khao chee -- eggs with rice which is sticky
  • Porridge
  • steamed khao niaw (rice setamed)


Galangal -- a root which is similar to ginger but not quite and is used as ingredient to dishes in Laos

Spices, herbs, condiments and seasonings in Laos

Padaek is a fish sauce, fermented for a long time which contains small fishes and is used as condiments and to give aroma, flavor to Laotian dishes. There are variations in other Southeast Asian countries, Some call them shrimp paste or fish paste etc.

Galangal -- belongs to the family of ginger and is used in Laotian dishes to give tastes to foods. It gives an earth aroma and taste to foods, and is similar to ginger but the taste is different. It is also used as herbal medicine.

Lemon grass is a type of grass commonly used in Southeast Asia usually in soups and as ingredients when you cooked meat and fishes to add flavor and aroma. The flavor is lime like and it is nice to remove some foul smell of fishes. it can be used as it is fresh, can be dried or grounded.

Chili peppers are also used as spice

Some of other ingredients used are : Papaya, tamarind, coriander, basil are also used, bamboo shoots, mushroom

Laos Market

Markets in Laos

Here in this video, you can see the foods which are sold and is eaten in Laos, the variety of rice, vegetables and fruits which are usually same with other neighboring countries.

The fresh markets are open the whole week but there is also night market

Fruits like papaya, guava, santol -- sour fruit, citrus fruits, mangoes, banana, jackfruit, longan, watermelon

Vegetables like cabbage, pechay, carrots, eggplants, chayote, beans, cucumber, chili peppers

Night Market in Laos

Papaya salad

papaya salad --- Tam mak hoong

Papaya salad is a favorite food among Laotians and is usually called papaya pickles, mixed in grated papaya with other spices and herbs to give some flavor to it. It is also called Tam mak hoong is always spicy ad they eat this with the rice.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang Foods

Luang Prabang Laos is located in the North central Laos is formerly the seat of the government before and the food is also nice in that area. It is a UNESCO heritage site.

Kaipen -- algae with other ingredients, sesame, ginger, oinions, sesame seeds

Foods in Laos

  • Kaipen is a snack which is nutritious and is made fro sesame seeds, water and vegetables and spices like onion and ginger (galangal). Kai is a green algae collected from riverbeds.
  • Lam is a green stewed vegetables
  • Lao curry
  • Fish stewed in padaek -- fish sauce

Noodles in Laos -- khak piak sen

Noodles in Laos khak piak sen is a noodles with vermicelli rice noodles with spices and you can add sugar to it -- broth of chicken with meat or chicken

Other noodles

  • soup made of rice vermicelli -- khao poon
  • sweet stir fried noodles
  • stir-fried glass noodles
  • pan-fried rice noodles
  • gravied stir-fried noodles

A Taste of Laos

khaotom -- rice which is steamed covered in banana leaf

Beer lao

Beverages in Laos

Non alcoholic  -- juices of coconut, juice form sugar cane, coffee and other juices from fruits

Alcoholic -- Beer lao, whisky

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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Another interesting hub about Laos. The pictures are great.

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