Do you have any idea about the local food in Laos? If not, then we got you covered! This delicious local food in Laos will surely make you crave for more.

Simon Matzinger


Southeast Asia is a popular backpacking destination. There are so many places to explore and the low cost of living makes anyone want to go there to execute their adventurous soul. One of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia is Laos. This country is famous for its preserved culture. It can be seen from Laotian daily life, the symbols, historical sites that are still well preserved, and many others.

Best Local Food in Laos
Photo by Christian Bowman CC BY-SA 2.0

One of those cultures that have been preserved is it’s culinary. There are so many dishes that were passed down from generation to generation and it still has the same deliciousness. Laotian cuisine also got influence from its neighboring countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. But it still has its uniqueness that is worth trying. Here we have a list consisting of 10 best local food in Laos that you have to try when you come here.

Other articles you can read:

1. Larb

Best Local Food in Laos
Photo by Bryon Lippincott CC BY-ND 2.0

Larb or Laab is Laos authentic minced meat salad. It can be chicken, duck, beef, fish, or any other meat. Sometimes mushrooms seasoned with extract lemon, fish sauce, and other spices are added on the salad to make the taste richer and more delicious.

This dish is usually served along with fresh vegetables and you can eat it anytime, whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And since Laotian proper meal is sticky rice, they usually enjoy eating Larb together with it.

2. Khao Piak Sen

If Vietnam has Pho, Laos has Khao Piak Sen. Laotian cuisine has some influence from its neighboring countries. It’s not something peculiar if you find similar dishes in these countries.

The stock of this dish is made from chicken or beef broth and is seasoned with Laotian spices before pouring onto the rice noodles. Shredded chicken or seafood and vegetables are used as a topping on the dish, complete with a lime slice in which you can squeeze if you want a more sour taste. Compared to Vietnam’s Pho, Khao Piak Sen has a more savory and strong taste.

3. Khao Jee

Khao Jee has an appearance like a sandwich and Vietnam’s Banh Mi. It is often enjoyed during breakfast. There are so many places in the market that sell Khao Jee in the morning. This is one of the most popular Laotian street food, so you have to try it at least once when you’re staying in this country.

Khao Jee filling is usually made from tomatoes, cheese, carrot, and meat. You can choose the meat that they will use as a filling, it can be chicken, pork, smoked beef, or even avocado if you’re vegetarian. The bread is made from rice flour so it is gluten-free and healthier than any regular bread.

4. Ping Kai

There are so many local food in Laos that are made from meat, that is because Laotians love their meat. One of the most popular meat dishes is Ping Kai. You can find Ping Kai everywhere in Laos.

This dish is made from chicken that is seasoned with black pepper, minced garlic, ginger, coriander leaves and roots, galangal, fish sauce, and salt. The seasoned chicken wrapped in banana leaves and grilled in charcoal. Ping Kai is usually served along with sticky rice and raw fresh vegetables.

5. Tam Mak Hoong

If you like Som Tam from Thailand, then you might also like Tam Mak Hoong. Both of the dishes have similar ingredients and gaining popularity in their own countries.

This dish is made from young shredded papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, and beans that are processed to make a salad with seasonings like brown sugar, lime, fish sauce, chilies, and fermented fish juice. It has a sweet, sour, and salty taste. The lime represents the fresh flavor in this dish.

6. Mok Pa

Mok Pa is another Laotian dish that might be difficult to find in other countries, especially outside Asia. It is made from fish seasoned with galangal, lime leaves, fish sauce, shrimp paste, chilies, and dill leaves. After being marinated with those spices, the fish is wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed. Laotian usually enjoyed it along with sticky rice as a main dish. It has a delicious and heavenly taste and aroma.

7. Nam Khao Tod

Nam Khao Tod is a Laotian version of fried rice but it does not only consist of fried rice, but also salad, peanuts, shredded coconuts, and slices of pork sausage. It’s seasoned with fish sauce, lime extract, dried chilies, and other spices. Usually, it’s also completed with lettuce, coriander leaves, and green onion.

The way to eat this dish is similar to Korean ssam, wherein one piece of fresh lettuce is filled with salad and fried rice and then wrap it before you eat it. Nam Khao Tod is usually enjoyed as an appetizer by Laotian.

8. Or Lam

Or Lam or pronounce it as aw Lahm is usually made from animal fat, buffalo skin that has tough texture yet flavorful, and mai sakaan or spicy chili wood in English. But for vegetarians, Or Lam nowadays is also made from vegetables.

The seasoning that is used in this dish is dill or holy basil. It’s best paired with a bowl of sticky rice and each place always serves it together when you order it. You can find the best Or Lam dish in a high-end restaurant, and Phamsai Houngchalern in Luang Prabang is one of those best restaurants which served Or Lam on their menu.

9. Khao Lod Chong

Khao Lod Chong is a dessert made from rice flour colored in green and served along with coconut milk. This similar dessert can also be found in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia with the name Cendol. It has a savory taste that comes from the coconut milk and milk texture from the rice flour that is shaped like a tear-drop.

The philosophy of the name itself is Lod which means through, and Chong means hole since the tear-drop rice flour is made with putting the dough in the long hole. It’s served along with ice and brown sugar. That combination produces a fresh and sweet taste that will reduce your thirst right away. This dessert is usually sold in the street stall vendors in the morning market in Luang Prabang.

10. Lao Lao Whiskey

This drink has a tough appearance since it is made from rice whiskey that is usually used to soak the noxious snakes or bugs. This drink is called Lao Lao and the whiskey is made from fermented sticky rice. You can see the production of this whiskey in the small village not far from Luang Prabang.

Although it has a tough appearance, this drink has a delicious and strong taste. Moreover, it has a low price. You can buy and bring it as a gift for relatives back home. It will become a unique souvenir from Laos.

There are so many local foods in Laos that are influenced by other Southeast Asian countries. But it still has its uniqueness and you will never regret trying it. So, which one is the most intriguing for you?

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