Lao cuisine has the savoring taste thanks to a well-balanced combination of many ingredients and spices. Westerners may have the thought that traditional and local dishes are often strange and unmanageable, but Lao food can actually make a score of pleasing tourists taste. Among those tasty and colorful dishes, these are must-try ones to anyone that once visit this lovely country.

Laap (or Laab)

It is simply called “meat salad” when translated into English. Laap is one typical dish of Laos and is the heavy-weight to other competitors. 

Laab chicken salad with fresh herbs and vegetables

Laap consists of a kind of minced meat, usually pork or fish (some restaurants would adjust as your offer), salad and fresh herb, fish sauce, lime juice, and the main material: toasted sticky rice powder. All together are quickly fried and mixed perfectly before displaying on the plate, originally eat when raw. Laap is widely available, the majority of restaurants in big cities of Vientiane, Luang Prabang. The dish is common among people from all classes.

Fer and Khaopiak

Comparing to Vietnamese Pho, Fer, and Kopiak of Lao is pretty much alike. It is a noodle soup dish that is topped with green herbs and meat. The broth is what makes Fer become a hearty savor dish, it is made of cow and pig’ bone and takes hours of stewing on pink coal. 

Fer and Khaopiak can be found in a family restaurant or a small street food stall. 

Meat can be added are beef, pork, meatballs, shrimps, other ingredients are sprout, scallions. The side portion is a pile of green and chili sauce. Fer and Kopiak are widely sold on the streets, family restaurants.


Mok, be understood as mixed food wrapped with banana leaves. Cooking styles are different from places, like steamed or roasted version. 

Fresh fish is wrapped in banana leave and then steamed

The core inside the leaves are various and diverse to flavor, ingredients, customers usually choose their favorite or just pick the lucky charm. Some popular kinds of Mok are Samong (pig’s brain), Mok Naw Mai, Mok Pa Fa (fish). Contribute to the savoring taste are herbs and spices.

Khao Poon

Noodle soup is one typical dish that not only can be seen everywhere throughout the country but also in many nations of Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. Khao poon (sometimes spelled Kao pun or Kapoon) is actually a spicy rice vermicelli soup, also known as Lao Laska. 

The soup has a distinctive flavor of hot chilly and fresh herbs with flavorful meat.

The soup consists of shredded meat (chicken, pork or fish) that is seasoned with lime, garlic, shallots, chili pepper, and perilla. It is served hot and often goes with a plate of herbs and spices, which add in the flavor. The dish is widely available in weddings and ceremonies. 

There are various versions of Khao Poon: khao poon nam phik, which includes coconut milk, and khao poon nam jaew, without coconut milk, or khao poon nam par, with fish sauce.

Sai Oo-ah

Tasting the dish after the main meal may fulfill one wonderful feast. Sai Oo-ah is one kind of sausage that deserved to be named “The best meat mixed”. 

Sai Oo-ah is similar to sausage but different in its own taste.

It is a perfect mixture that includes minced pork belly, pork skin, seasoned with galangal, scallion, cilantro, dill and highlighted with light spicy chili pepper. The great balance of firm, springy and juicy creates an incredibly beautiful flavor, it explodes in every single bite. Sai Oo-ah is commonly sold on the streets, street food stalls and vendors in Laos

Green Papaya salad

Green Papaya salad is known as Tam Mak Hoong in local and is the choicest of appetizers. The ingredient consists of shredded, unripe papaya, grape tomato, garlic, chili, palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce, all together are pounded in a mortar. To the one that is not keen on spice flavor, have the dish with sticky rice would ease spicy taste. Tam Mak Hong is famous in street food and family restaurants.

The dish is absolutely easy to make at home, as long as you have the right ingredients

Khao Jee Pa-Tay

Vietnam has Banh mi as the country hearty dish, Laos has Khao Jee Pa-Tay on the same scale. Khao Jee Pa-tay has a sandwich style like French Baguette, which Laos was influenced by the French during the colonial time.

The taste inside Khao Jee is really a special one

Although the baguette is not unfamiliar to any country Laos has changed the ingredients and the taste inside is surely a unique one. It includes pate, sausage, pork floss, butter, soy sauce and vegetables (cucumber, pickled, cilantro, coriander). Places to sell are everywhere down the street, at the corners or in local markets.

» You may like: Top Vietnamese Food - A Must-try List

Mango Sticky Rice

Order this one for dessert as its sweaty charming flavor would be the right taste to end the feast. Made with sticky rice, cooked in coconut milk and sugar, mango is left ripe and decorated around the bowl-shape sticky rice, topped with sesame seeds.

Mango sticky rice can be considered a snack of Laotians

Soop Pak

It is not “soup” that the dish meant, Soop Pak is the actual name of one healthy vegetable dish. Though there are many recipes of Soop Pak they all are in common when made of sour herb and vegetable, a huge amount of sesame seeds.

 It sounds like soup but definitely not one of them - Soop pak

Some places make it with string beans or spinach as the greens or the local version with cashew tree leaves. A common dish is available at Lao food stalls, family restaurants, street food markets.

Jaew Mak Len

A kind of cooked tomato sauce that is one of the most favorite of Lao. Amazing that this sauce would match every Lao fried or dried dishes. It is made from common ingredients, which are grape tomatoes, chili, scallion, cooked on the fire, then other materials put into the mixture are fish sauce, lime juice, and coriander. Simple cooked but king-taste own.

Honestly, you can add more Jaew Mak Len to everything to make the dish even tastier

When we talk about food, we would want to bring out the best of Laotian food to not only food-lovers but also to anyone who loves traveling like us. Because we know that an adventurer would never skip a traditional dish to understand the culture and customs of a country.

♥ Join our little expedition on the land of Laotian with Asia Links Travel today! 

» If you are still having questions, contact us for consultants or find out more information from our Laos Travel Guide

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