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Updated by Joanna James on Apr 22, 2019
Headline for 5 Traditional Dishes of Laos – Simply Delicious
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Traditional Dishes of Laos – Simply Delicious

Laos present gastronomic enthusiasts with an unusual and adventurous cuisine. Here is a list of traditional dishes try in Laos.



Laap or Larb is Laos's national dish of sorts. It is made with minced meat (mainly beef and pork) blended with citrus juice, padek, garlic, onions and of course fiery chilli. They add mint to enhance the flavour. You can either get cooked or raw Laap based on your preference and sense of adventure. Apart from beef and pork, some chefs use duck, chicken, buffalo meat or sometimes even tofu. You can get this dish from roadside vendors and Luang Prabang restaurants.


Fer and Kopiak

Fer and kopiak is a rich noodle soup. It is made with noodles and meat and the servings come with fresh herbs and chilli sauce. Chefs use garlic in the broth to add flavour. Before marijuana became an illegal substance in the country, they used to add some to improve the taste of meat in Fer and kopiak and tenderize it. The rice noodles used in the dish is handmade and chewy. It is such a popular dish that even boutique hotels such as Avani+ Luang Prabang serve it to guests.


Grilled River Fish

People of Laos love freshwater fish covered in a layer of salt and stuffed plentifully with lemongrass and spices. The fish is then grilled over coals to get that smoky goodness. Locals use their hands to tear apart the flaky, flavoursome fish and stuff their mouths after wrapping it in lettuce along with sticky rice and various sauces. They consume all parts of the fish including eyeballs, tails and the crunchy skin covered in salt. The crispy lettuce and the sticky rice make the fish taste extraordinarily delicious. You will have to be careful when you tear apart pieces of fish as they don't debone the fish before grilling.


Black sticky rice

Sticky rice is a staple food in Laos. They eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Black sticky rice is sweet and delightful to look at. People of Laos usually use black sticky rice to make desserts. Black sticky rice is supposed to be healthier than its white counterpart. Chefs use coconut cream, sugar and salt to make a mind-blowing dessert. First steam the sticky rice and cook coconut milk along with salt and sugar separately. Once the sticky rice is ready, they pour most of the creamy mixture on to it, keeping aside a portion to pour over the concoction once it cools. Black sticky rice dessert is served with tropical fruits like mango, dragon fruit or banana.


Spicy Dipping Sauce

Last but not least, Laos spicy dipping sauce is an integral part of any Laotian meal. The most popular variety is called Jeow som which is made with fiery chillies, coriander, padek mixed with sugar and lime juice. Jeow padek is a variety of dipping sauce made with fish sauce (fermented), ginger and of course lemongrass. Travellers seem to go crazy over eggplant sauce made with garlic and spring onions. You can always expect dipping sauce to accompany Laotian meals.