Food Lover's Guide to Laos

Bustling night markets, lively street vendors, and plenty of traditional sit-down restaurants have made Laos a destination for travelers looking to satisfy their taste buds. Here are some of the tastiest dishes and gastronomic experiences traveling foodies won’t want to miss.
 
Must-Try Dishes
Mok Pa, fragrant fish steamed with herbs in banana leaves, is a popular choice among locals, as is laap or larb, a traditional dish of raw meat piled with fresh herbs and spices. Chilis, lime juice, fermented fish sauce, and fresh herbs figure prominently in the local fare. Travelers without a stomach of steel can opt for khao jee, a Lao baguette sandwich, or airy rice crepes, both nods to Laos’ French colonization.
 
At the night markets of Luang Prabang and Vientiane, travelers sample street food favorites like fresh spring rolls packed with plenty of local herbs, as well as piping hot bowls of Laos’ own version of Vietnamese pho beef noodle soup. Richly roasted meats and whole fish line the stakes of smoking barbecues, and the spicy heat of Laos’ traditional stewed eggplant dish leaves visitors licking their lips and mopping sweat from their brows. No meal would be complete without a side of sticky rice.
 
Must-Do Experiences
  • Wake early for a visit to a traditional morning wet market in Luang Prabang to learn more about local products and exotic ingredients from the Lao jungles.
  • Trek through the Bolaven Plateau to a coffee plantation, stopping at a waterfall for a swim along the way.
  • Explore the food scene of Vientiane on a half-day tour, including breakfast, a market visit, and a traditional Lao lunch.
  • Learn how to pick fresh ingredients and prepare typical Lao dishes during a Lao cooking class led by a local chef.
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