23 Best Lao Foods

1. Khao niew or Sticky rice

Rice is perhaps the most fundamental food in Laos. Lao sticky rice is medium-grain, white, and somewhat pearlescent. It’s commonly steamed in a triangular thip khao – a basket made from dried stalks or reeds.

2. Naem khao or Crispy coconut rice

Best Lao Foods

Best Lao Foods

Naem khao is a crispy wok-fried rice dish made with salt-cured ground pork, pig skin, steamed and dried white rice, dried shredded coconut, scrambled egg, ground herbs, fish sauce and lime juice.  gives the dish further body and savoriness, ground herbs, red curry paste, and fresh red curry paste. Naem khao is often garnished with Bibb lettuce leaves.

3. Khaopiak Khao

Best Lao Foods

Khaopiak Kaho or rice soup is a wet rice fresh noodle soup containing white rice served in a chicken or pork broth with meats (beef, pork or chicken), topped with lime and cilantro.

4. Khao soi or Rice noodle soup with fermented soy bean-tomato sauce

Best Lao Foods

Khao soi are fresh, wide-cut rice noodles are covered with a chicken bones and herb broth. The soup, topped with a sauce made from tomato, vinegar, palm sugar, chili powder, and thua nao, a type of Lao fermented soybean paste.

5. Khao poon num pha or Fish curry noodle soup

Best Lao FoodsBest Lao Foods

Khao poon num pha is a Fish curry noodle soup containing Khaopoon (fermented rice noodles), fish curry broth, and toppings. The broth is flavored with red curry, shrimp paste, coconut milk, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal. Toppings include fish fillet, quail egg, fish balls, various vegetables such as carrots, green and purple cabbages.

6. Kua Mee or stir-fried noodles with pork and egg

Best Lao FoodsBest Lao Foods

Kua Mee is a stir-fried noodles dish containing flat rice noodles stir-fried with pork belly slices, shallots, seasoned with sugar, salt, and fish sauce, topped with bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, sliced omelet.

7. Muu haeng or Sun-dried pork, Siin Haeng or Sun-dried beef

Best Lao Foods

To make Muu Haeng or Siin Haeng are dried foods made from thin slices of pork or beef are marinated and then sun-dried. The marinade is a mixture of fish sauce, black soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chopped cilantro, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, and ginger,

8. Sai oua or Herbal pork sausage

Sai oua is a type of sausage made with ground pork, a little of fat (ground or cut into strips), lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and garlic, then stuffed into natural casings. Rice is added to the mixture before stuffing, the sausages are left to ferment for one to two weeks, adding a sour taste.

9. Muu som or Rice fermented sour pork

Best Lao Foods

Muu som or Rice fermented sour pork is made with raw pork belly which gets massaged, then marinated for about three weeks in a wet mash of cold steamed rice mixed with garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar, and water. The fermented pork is roasted until fully cooked, then charred in a wok with mushrooms, dark soy, onion, bell pepper, ginger, and garlic.

10. Tam muk muang or Green mango salad

Best Lao Foods

Lao Tam muk muang is made with unripe yellow mango, tomato, cashew, garlic, sometimes shrimp, mixed with a sweet and salty dressing made from soy sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar.

11. Laab ped or Minced duck salad

Laab ped is a salad made by mixing ground meat, dark soy sauce, roasted dry chilies, herbs, fish sauce, lime juice and topped with fried shallots, garlic, herbs, and a powder made from dry ground rice. Hand-chopped deboned duck is crisped in a wok before mixing with other ingredients. The salad is usually served with vegetables such as sliced red radishes, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuce leaves.

12. Tam lao or Lao spicy young papaya salad

Tam Lao is a spicy salad containing young papaya, dried shrimp, black crab, tomatoes, flavored with fish sauce, sugar, citrus and padek, served a lot of dried red chilies.

13. Tam taeng or Cucumber salad

Best Lao Foods

Tam Taeng is a salad, containing cucumber mixed with shrimp, long beans, tomatoes, peanuts, a a dressing of chilies and citrus. It can be eaten alone or mixed with fermented rice noodles or sticky rice.

14. Yam patu or Tuna salad

Yam Patu is a salad made from canned tuna, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and garlic. To serve this dish, top the tuna mixture on to tomatoes, chilis, cilantro, onions, lemongrass, and scallions.

15. Yam mak kuea Nyao or Grilled green eggplant salad

Best Lao Foods

This salad is made with green eggplants, which are charcoal-grilled until they are blackened, peeled, shredded into strips, tossed with hard-boiled egg, citrus, fish sauce and chili dressing. Shallots, dried shrimp and cilantro are optional.

16. Laap naam tok or Medium rare beef salad

Medium rare beef is the key to Laap Naam Tok, other ingredients include lemongrass, shallots, mint, cilantro, fish sauce. Lao people eat this salad by hand, scoop up the salad with a handful of sticky rice rolled into a ball.

17. Gaeng som or Soup with fish sauce and tamarind

Best Lao Foods

Gaeng som is a noodle soup dish containing fresh, wide-cut rice noodles, covered with a broth made with whatever leftover meat or bones, vegetables and spices such as green onion, dried chili, Thai basil, lemongrass, and hon shimeji mushrooms. Tamarind pulp, fish sauce, and sugar make the dish sour, salty, and sweet.

18. Khao poon or Soup with fermented noodles

Khao poon consists of fermented rice vermicelli covered with soup, garnished with shaved cabbage, mung bean sprouts, banana blossom, snake beans, lettuce, and dried chili, mint. There are many recipes for this dish. Khao poon nam prik soup is made from chicken, red curry which includes coconut milk. Khao poon nahm kaew broth is cooked from pork or fish and does not contain coconut milk.

19. Gaeng naw mai or Bamboo and yanang leaf stew

Best Lao Foods

Gaeng naw mai is made from bamboo shoots, other ingredients including greens, wild mushrooms, all kinds of herbs, meats like pork or fish, dried fish skin, and whole quail eggs. The stew is flavored with yanang leaf extract, garlic, chilies, and padaek.

20. Piing hua jai kai or Grilled chicken hearts

Best Lao Foods

Piing hua jai kai is a grilled dish made with chicken hearts. The raw chicken hearts are marinated with a combination of ground lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and palm sugar. Then, the hearts are placed on skewers, and grilled until just slightly pink, and served while they are still hot and tender.

21. Paa tod or Crispy catfish

Paa tod is a fried fish dish consisting of catfish fillets, mixed with rice flour and fried until crispy, covered with a dressing made of fish sauce, palm sugar, chilies, garlic, lime juice.

22. Pa mak now or Steamed fish in basket

Best Lao Foods

To make Pa mak now, they steam freshwater fish, vegetables, rice in bamboo baskets fit over special aluminum vessels which hold water and are placed over open coals.

23. Pak Bung Fai Dang or Stir-fried morning glory

Pak Bung Fai Dang or Stir-fried morning glory is made from morning glory, red chilies, cloves of garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, sometimes pork stocks. Although Stir-fried morning glory is a staple which can be found easily in many countries of Southeast Asia, it is worth trying this stir-fried dish in Lao.

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