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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 29, 2020
Headline for Top dishes to try in Laos – Truly Laotian Flavours That You Will Love
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top dishes to try in Laos – Truly Laotian Flavours That You Will Love

Bordered by the waters of the fabled Mekong River, the region of Laos is a fantastic place to vacation in. One of the many reasons to visit here is the amazing cuisine on offer. Here's a look at some of the top dishes you can try in Laos.


Sticky Rice

Sticky rice is the signature dish here in the region – ask any Laotian what their favourite food is and you're bound to get this answer. In fact, sticky rice has a place in many South-East Asian menus, both as a snack and a dessert. There are plenty of ways to serve sticky rice as well, but here in Laos, you'll usually find it offered at room temperature. Sticky rice also holds a spiritual place amongst the people of Laos as it is the preferred dish to be offered to wandering Buddhist monks – this tradition is called Tak Bat.



Laap is a popular dish that's served in most top-end Laotian restaurants. No doubt, you'll find this on the menu at any top-tier restaurant Luang Prabang has to offer – say, for example, the in-house restaurant at luxury properties like Avani+ Luang Prabang. Laap is generally a combination of meat and innards alongside a mix of vegetables, sauces and herbs. Different varieties of meat are used in its preparation and these can range from chicken and lamb to even water buffalo!


Nam Khao

When Laotians find out that they have an excess of sticky rice, they are already at work preparing a healthy serving of Nam Khao. This is essentially a rice salad that's both crunchy and flavourful – perfect as an appetizer before the main course. For added flavour, a number of ingredients are used. These include peanuts, shallots, various herbs and pork shavings.


Tam Mak Houng

In most areas of Thailand, som tam is a spicy salad that can be enjoyed with a refreshing drink. Here in Laos however, this traditional recipe is given a twist and turned into the tam mak houng. Here flavour is derived from a selection of fish sauces and fermented crab. These are added into a mix of papaya, lime and a host of vegetables. Afterwards, the mix is ground up in a mortar and pestle. The resulting salad is served alongside Laos' favourite staple – sticky rice!


Ping Kai

Another favourite side dish that Laotians pair up with sticky rice, ping kai is a chicken dish that's grilled to perfection and slathered in local sauces. In order to prepare this dish, Laotians take a whole chicken, cut it up and then pound it down to a flat patty-like state. It's at this point that the sauces are introduced and the meat is allowed to marinate in them. Various herbs and spices are also sprinkled on top the chicken before its roasted on a charcoal grill.


Khao Soi

If you have an affinity for soi noodles, this is the Laotian dish for you! Here, rice noodles are garnished with a variety of ingredients including tomatoes, garlic and various herbs. Then, a helping of ground pork and a delicious pork broth is added to make a delectable noodles soup.