Laos has a very diverse and fascinating cuisine with delicious dishes that are worth trying if you are a food enthusiast. Lao cuisine is much more similar to that of Thailand than its Indochina neighbor – Vietnam. Laotians often prefer spicy hot food with garlic, fish sauce, and some herbs to make the flavor pop. If it sounds like something you would like, you should try some on your next Indochina tours! For those who love street food, do not miss a small alley located west of Luang Prabang night market, commonly known as “Street Food” alley. You can find delicious dishes of Lao cuisine at extremely cheap prices there. If you are interested in learning how to cook Lao food, there are many cooking centers in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.Laos Street Food

5 Best Laos Street Food

Laos Larb

In Laos, “larb” means fortune and good luck, symbolizing the wish for a peaceful and lucky life. A typical dish of larb is quite simple to make. People use minced beef, pork, chicken, duck, and some kinds of insides. If you eat the pork larb, there will also be some slices of chewy pork skin to add some more texture to the dish. The meat is then mixed with spices such as lemon juice, galangal, lemongrass, onions, lots of peppers, and then served with roasted rice. Larb is a staple among locals and some people consider it the unofficial national dish of Laos. Laotians often prefer raw meat for a fresh and juicy taste. For those of you who are not into the raw goodie, the meat will be cooked before mixing. There is also an option of vegetarian larb made with tofu and mushrooms. Larb is an exciting dish to try on a hot day in Vientiane. Laotians often eat raw larb to feel the freshness of the meat and the rich taste of the insides. To those who are not used to eating raw meat, the dish will be cooked for you.Laos Street Food Larb

Laos Sticky rice

Unlike other countries, you can hardly find black or colored sticky rice in Laos. Lao sticky rice is purely white and is served with grilled chicken, some boiled vegetables, and a kind of delicious sauce similar to that of Vietnam. The sticky rice is stored in the bamboo basket to get an attractive smell and earthy aroma. If you get the chance to come to Laos, you can try this dish at a restaurant a food stall for about 15,000 kip/basket. Laos consumes more sticky rice than any other country, and it has become a staple to eat alone or accompany practically all Laotian dishes. A steaming bowl of sticky rice will be a great start for your Lao food tour.Laos Street Food - Sticky rice

Laos Papaya salad

Papaya salad is an indispensable dish in almost every meal. The dish is made with papaya and fermented crab, shrimp, and fish. The aroma of the spices and shrimp sauce with a sour taste can add a unique touch to the dish and make other dishes in the meal taste so much better.Laos Papaya Salad

Savanakhet’s grilled chicken

Savanakhet’s grilled chicken is considered a local specialty in southern Laos. The secret behind the captivating taste of this dish is the chicken meat. The chickens chosen to be grilled are free-range chickens instead of the mass-produced ones. Therefore, the meat is firmer and juicier than the typical chickens in fast food restaurants. After being cleaned, the chicken will be grilled over burning charcoal fire until cooked. This dish even tastes better when served with a sauce called “cheo boong”.Savannakhet grilled chicken - Laos Street Food

Khausoy

Khausoy is a famous dish in Luang Prabang. At first glance, it looks similar to Vietnamese “pho” but the recipe is much simpler and the taste is still delicious. The broth for khausoy is simply the water used to boil the noodles. Water and noodles are poured into the bowl before khausoy is added on top. The dish is served with herbs, pepper, and chili sauce. Khausoy is the most important ingredient of this dish and it is made from pureed pork mixed with garlic, tomatoes, and spices of all kinds.Laos Street Food Khausoy

5 Popular Laos Street Food

Laos Insects

Similar to Cambodians and Thai, Lao people also like dishes made from insects. From crickets, ants, water bugs to spiders, these crispy goodies are cooked in many different ways they are equally delicious if you are brave enough to take a bite.Laos Insects

Lao pho

Lao pho is different from Vietnamese pho. The fundamental difference lies in the broth. Laotians don’t put cinnamon and star anise into the broth but rather use bone broth and let the customers put the spices in according to their taste. There are also 2 to 3 slices of cooked blood pudding and meatballs in a typical bowl of Lao pho. Herbs served with this dish are basil, lettuce, cowpea dunk in shrimp sauce.Laos Popular Street Food - Noodle

Laos Crackling Spring Roll

The crackling spring roll is a very unique dish of Laos. Crispy packs of cracklings are always available in the market. This dish is rolled in lettuce and served with papaya salad, herbs, and the sauce “cheo boong”.Laos Crackling Spring Roll

Laos Grilled Eggs

A steaming stack of three grilled eggs or “ping kai” on a skewer is a very common snack found on the streets of Laos. The eggs are washed and punctured a hole on top carefully so that the shell stays intact. The yolk and whites are then whisked and seasoned with spices such as pepper, fish sauce, and spring onions to get a better flavor. The mixture is then poured back into the egg shell and grilled until cooked.Laos Grilled Eggs

Laos Coconut Pancakes

“Ka nom kok” or coconut pancake is one of the most famous desserts in Luang Prabang. In the early morning, you can see groups of people making this delicate dish along the streets. Some make the dough; others put the cakes in sticks, and the rest are in charge of making beautiful boxes of banana leaves to put the pancakes in. When receiving this small but beautiful basket, you will feel like being offered treats by relatives instead of buying food from a street vendor. The secret behind a great coconut pancake is the salt added in the dough that makes the pancakes less sweet and more enjoyable.Laos Coconut Pancakes