Luang Prabang’s Tasting Experience – Top 10 Must-try dishes before leaving
This special dish can be found mostly in Luang Prabang. It can be made from chicken, beef, duck, fish, pork or mushrooms. The meat is minced and then flavored with lime juice, fermented fish sauce, sticky rice and fresh herb. You can add some chili peppers to richer its flavor.
• Coconut garden, Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 8.00 am to 11.00 pm)
• Pak Houay Mixay, Ban Mano Road, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 10 a.m to 9 p.m)
To Lao people, Sien Savanh tastes best when served with warm sticky rice and tomato dipping sauce. Sien Savanh, also known as Lao Beef Jerky, is one of the Laotian snacks which is made up from marinated beef in soy sauce, garlic, pepper, sugar and oyster sauce. Then the beef slices are dried under the sun then smoked to turn them into crispy beef pieces. Sien Savanh is regularly sold by the street vendors or on bus rides.
Unlike Western sausages, Lao-style sausages – Sai Uah and Sai Gok – are herb-infused meat that you’ll be surprised with the first bite. Inside the sausage, the pork is mixed with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves, shallots, cilantro, chilies and fish sauce. Lao sausage is one of Luang Prabang most famous specialities and served with sticky rice and fresh slices of ginger. Lao sausages often appear in Laotians’ marriages, religious ceremonies and many other festivities.
• Mango Tree, Sakkarine Road, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 9 a.m to 10 p.m)
Ping Gai – Grilled chicken
A fillet of chicken is marinated in black pepper, garlic, coriander root, fish sauce and salt the cook over hot coals. The chicken then is crispy, flavorful roasted with dipping sauce and fresh herbs. The dish can be found in restaurants or even at streets’ stalls.
• Some BBQ stalls in Luang Prabang night market, Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 5 p.m to 11 p.m)
Or Lam is the Laotians’ favorite soupy dish which is known as Laotian stew. Or Lam originally comes from northern Luang Prabang which has less spicy flavor and aromatic fragrance. The main ingredients in Or Lam are dried buffalo meat, beef, chicken, lemongrass, Sa Khan – a bitter root herb, chilies, mashed eggplants, wood ear mushrooms and yard long beans. Normally, old people enjoy Or Lam more than young people and since it takes a long time to stew, Or Lam is only made for special ceremonies only.
• Tamarind restaurant, Ban Wat Sene, Old Town, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 11 a.m to 10 p.m)
Tam Mak Houng – Green Papaya Salad
This dish is the combination of five main distinctive local taste: sour lime, hot chili, salt, savory fish sauce and palm sugar sweetness. The unripe papaya is shredded into strings then pounded together with the combination above in a traditional mortar and pestle. The dish has a similar taste with Thailand’s Som Tam but without crushed peanuts.
• Tamnak Lao Restaurant, Sakkaline Road, Luang Prabang Laos
• On the roadside stalls.
Khao Piak Sen
Khao Piak Sen is noodle soup with thick handmade rice flour noodles and delicious broth. This top-notch noodle dish is probably the most common Lao food that became a staple food in Lao, similar to Pho in Vietnam. Khao Piak Sen is good for breakfast but it is served the whole day. Khao Piak Sen, like Pho, is usually accompanied with beef or chicken and bean sprout, long bean, holy basil and cilantro.
• Xiengthong Noodle near Wat Xiang on the far east of town’s main peninsula (serving 7 a.m to 2 p.m)
• Cafetoui, Sisavangvatthana Road, Luang Prabang (serving 10 a.m to 11:30 p.m)
Khao Jee – Baguettes
Lao was a part of French Indochina for about 60 years of history, thus it can’t be ignored that Khao Jee has become a French-inspired dish but commonly eaten in Lao. Khao Jee is sold at small, street side stalls in every city, hence you can put anything inside as filling but never forget paté which made from pork liver.
Mok Pa – Steamed fish in banana leaves
Similar to Fish Amok in Cambodia, the fish is also cooked with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and lots of chilies. It is then wrapped up in banana leaves then steamed until the fish is soft. The only difference between Mok Pa and Amok is that Amok is added with coconut milk; however Mok, Pa can still retain is a buttery flavor in it and tastes even better.
• Coconut garden, Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 8 a.m to 11 p.m)
Naem Khao Tod – Crispy Rice Salad
Deep fried balls, peanuts, grated coconut, dried chilies and a large chunk of pork sausage make up the famous dish – Naem Khao Tod. Traditionally, when having Naem Khao Tod, Laotian often take a bed of lettuce and then wrap the mixture and add some fresh herbs. This dish is usually considered an appetizer and slowly gaining its popularity in the West. Naem Khao Tod should be first taste with the local for the utmost authentic experience of the dish.
• L’elephant, Luang Prabang, Laos (serving 10 a.m to 10 p.m)
Laos has plenty things more that are worth your dollar bills to spend on.
» Check out our recommendation for Best places for shopping in Luang Prabang.
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