sticky rice

Laotian Cuisine: Sticky Rice and Noodle Soups

We already presented you with some introductions to the delicacies of Vietnamese cuisine as well as the tasty varieties of Thai street food and curries. We absolutely loved the different styles and sorts of dishes prepared here and had a great time exploring the food markets around these countries. Moving further on our trip around Southeast Asia we eventually had the chance to visit the beautiful country of Laos, a true hidden gem landlocked between the countries of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. In terms of its cuisine, Laos has a mix of distinct local dishes and ingredients along with tastes influenced by its neighbors.

The foundation of all Lao meals and staple food of the country is sticky rice, locally referred to as Khao Niao. It is mostly eaten by hand and is basically served along with most of the dishes found in Laos. You will find it served in a small woven basket. Variations of sticky rice include brown rice or specially cooked rice inside a bamboo tube. On average, Laotians eat more sticky rice per person that anywhere else in the world.

Khao Poon Nam Sin Soup
Khao Poon Nam Sin Soup (Noodle Soup)
Chicken curry
Chicken curry with sticky rice in a traditional basket

laotian food

laotian food

laotian food

Essential ingredients are garlic, chilies (both fresh and dried), lime, scallion, ginger, tamarind, lemongrass, galangal and fresh herbs such as dill, lime leaves, kaffir and cilantro. Fish, beef and water buffalo are the most common meats you will encounter.  Fish sauce made from slowly fermented fish paste is another vital component of Lao cooking.

Laotian food at times overlaps with dishes served in its neighboring countries, some even bear traces of the country’s French colonial influence, such as the adopted baguette meals. Despite this, Lao food remains distinct and different. Lao cooking focuses on the interplay of fresh herbs and mildly spicy undertones, at times even with bitter components.

Famous Laotian dishes are Laap (meat salad), a variety of different noodle soups, Nam Kao (rice salad) and Sai Oua (traditional Lao sausage). Make sure to wash down those tasty dishes with some amazingly delicious and award-winning Lao Beer, also known as Beerlao.

beer lao


Walk through the night market of Luang Prabang to a small side alley known as the ‘food street’. Here you will find a huge variety of vegetarian rice and noodle dishes which you can load onto your plate as much as you can. It’s very tasty and a real budget option – you can also add some meat or fish to your meal for a small extra charge. Definitely a great option when visiting Luang Prabang!




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