This is just a snapshot of Lao cuisine...i.e pictures of some of the dishes i ate in my, all too brief, two weeks there. I loved the Lao food, it's not quite as diverse and sophisticated as Thai food, but there's definitely some real gems to be found. Morning produce market Luang Prabang - amazing array of fruit, veg and herbs on display... plus meat & fish (with some small birds, rodents and fish being sold live, and sometimes being dispatched while the others in line watched!). Minced prawns on lemongrass & behind it pork, egg and herb wraps with sweet chilli sauce - both quite Vietnamese in origin i believe. Probably my culinary highlight in Laos - called Nam Nueng. This was basically a delicious and fresh DIY set of fried pork balls, rice noodles, chillies, star fruit, cucumber, garlic slivers accompanied by a huge plate of herbs (sweet basil, coriander, mint, pak chee farang) and leaves (lettuce, betel & rice paper sheets) + a sweet tamarind sauce. So idea is: make a DIY collection of the above, wrap it in one of the leaf options, add some sauce and send it down the hatch! Healthy taste explosions dont get much better. Here's one particular arrangement i made.
Larp - the national dish of Laos is s a type of Lao meat salad. It is most often made with chicken, beef, duck, turkey, pork or even fish, flavored with fish sauce and lime. The meat can be either raw or cooked; it is minced and mixed with ground roasted rice, chilli, mint an sometimes veggies. This one is fish larp, probably catfish (see the poor blighter at the bottom of this post!). Jeobong - a Luang Prabang speciality, made from chillies, spices and buffalo skin! Eat with vegetables and sticky rice (as pictured). Rambutans and Mangosteens, the latter being on my 'top 3 tastiest fruits ever' list. Coffee and doughnuts Lao style - if you find a good street stall you can get absolutely awesome coffee out there. Super sweet condensed milk an optional extra. Finger food at a night market - summer rolls vietnamese style, lettuce leaves with an aubergine paste and some sort of nut in and much more... Street stalls at night - Luang Prabang. The ubiquitous grilled Mekong fish, good it was too. Yep - the title pic above! This is beef noodle soup, it tasted as good as it looked and came with the two accompaniments pictured below.... A kind of satay style sauce to dip your beef in using chopsticks ...and this mad selection of herbs and fresh things to bung in your soup - including pak chee farang, pea shoots, lettuce and all manner of 'erbs, plus limes spring onions, green chillies and snake beans (which look dangerously similar!) and of course there's fish sauce, chilli sauce, sugar, dried chillies, chillies and vinegar and probably other things i cant remeber - just out of shot. All this for 80 pence! Sweet. Might add some more pics to this post at a later date, but for now i'll finish with this snap of a huge (probably 15 - 20kg) mekong catfish awaiting his fate (it was still alive n wriggling).... which i imagine was to be made into a serious amount of fish larp (see above).