3 Must-Try Laotian Dishes


Surrounded by Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China, Laos occupies a central geographical place in Southeast Asia. This place gives Laos a unique perspective on the Asian culture – including food. Throughout the course of this brief guide, you will learn a bit about a few Laotian dishes you must try, whether you try your own hand at making them or head to the nearest Laotian eatery near you.

Klao Niaw

Commonly known as stick rice to foreigners, klao niaw is known to anyone who has sampled virtually any form of Laotian cuisine. At almost every meal, a small, woven basket full of klao niaw is served. It is meant to be rolled into small balls by the eater and then dipped into a variety of sauces that are served with the dishes. Jeow, which is a dry paste which includes the presence of buffalo skin, is often served as a condiment with klao niaw. There are variations on the theme of klao niaw, including khao lam, which is klao niaw that is served inside of a bamboo tube and then smoked for a bit, which gives it a bit of an earthen flavor.

Oh Lam

Oh lam is considered a stew that is quite hearty, as you would expect a stew to be, but it is also not particularly thick. Oh lam has a distinct broth that gives it the appearance (and taste) of a dish that occupies a ground between a soup and a stew. Oh lam is traditionally served as a vegetarian dish. Eggplants, mushrooms, beans, and gourds are seasoned with chili, lemongrass, coriander, and a bitter herb known as sa kan. Occasionally, a variation of oh lam is served that includes meat. Common meats that are used in the construction of this dish include pork and buffalo.


Laap is a delicious, hearty salad consisting of diced meats, which include chicken, duck, pork, and beef, and are dressed with garlic, lime juice, and rice. This dish is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to Southeast Asian dishes because it is not served piping hot. Laap is a dish that is best served at room temperature to allow the dressing to set into the salad.

This guide should have given you some idea of what to expect from mouthwatering Laotian cuisine. Laotian food can offer you a unique take on Southeast Asian cuisine that takes aspects from its surrounding areas and adds its own spin.

If Laotian food doesn't sound like the right fit for you, consider a more traditional restaurant like The Turtle Club.


29 April 2016

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