Food in Laos
Lao cuisine is quite similar to that of Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region: spicy, bitter rather than sweet, with abundant fresh herbs and vegetables served raw. When the chilis become too much for your tongue, some of the raw veggies may be added to calm it down.
Rice is the main source of carbohydrates. Sticky rice (khao niaow) is the most common kind, which is eaten by hand from tip khao baskets. Pinch off a little with your right hand, never your left, roll into a ball, dip, and eat away.
Laap (sometimes spelled larb) is the national cuisine, a “salad” made of minced beef, herbs, spices, lime juice, and, more often than not, scalding quantities of chile. Unlike Thai larb, the Lao version may utilize raw meat (dip) instead of cooked meat (suk), and it creates a delicious, though spicy, carpaccio when served with shellfish.
Tam maak hung (), a spicy green papaya salad similar to som tam in Thailand, but with fermented crab (pudem) and a chunky, powerful fish sauce called pa daek, giving it a deeper flavor than the softer, sweeter Thai version. Ping kai, spicy grilled chicken, and mok pa, fish cooked in a banana leaf, are two more popular meals.
Laos also has a wide variety of sweets. Kanom kok is a tiny sphere of coconut milk, tapioca, and crushed rice pudding. Sang kaya mayru is a cooked pumpkin stuffed with a sweet custard. The pumpkin is sweet in and of itself, and the resultant concoction may be very tasty. Finally, a favorite snack is sticky rice with mango or durian.
Culinary imports from other nations, in addition to Lao cuisine, are widespread. Both khao jii pat-te, French baguettes filled with pâté, and foe (pho) noodles from China are popular morning treats. It’s worth noting that foe may refer to both thin rice noodles and broad flat noodles (guay tiow in Thailand).
Drinks in Laos
The ubiquitous and delicious Beerlao, produced from Laotian jasmine rice and one of the few Lao exports, is the country’s national drink. It has a near-mythical reputation among travelers and beer connoisseurs. A big 640 ml bottle should not cost more than 10,000 to 15,000 kip in restaurants, and the yellow emblem with its tiger-head silhouette can be seen everywhere. It’s available in three flavors: original (5%), dark (6.5%), and light (5%). (2.9 percent ). The brewery claims to have a market share of 99 percent.
Rice liquor, also known as lao-lao, is widely available and is the cheapest method to get drunk, costing less than USD0.30 per 750 ml bottle. Be cautious, since quality and distillation standards differ drastically.
Lao coffee (kaafeh) is known for its superior quality. The finest brand is Lao Mountain Coffee, which is produced on the Bolaven Plateau in the south. Lao coffee, unlike Thai coffee, does not include pulverized tamarind seed. If you want to avoid being served expensive Nescafé, ask for kaafeh thung. Kaafeh lao comes with sugar and condensed milk by default in lower-end restaurants; black coffee is kaafeh dam, and coffee with milk (often, but not always, non-dairy creamer) is kaafeh nom.
Although tap water is unfit for consumption, bottled water is inexpensive and readily accessible.
Outside of Vientiane and Vang Vieng, there isn’t much in the way of nightlife. In other areas, all you have to do is go to a restaurant to have a drink. However, other places may be so relaxed that they expect you to keep track of how much you’ve drank, with the occasional guest home inquiring how much you’ve drink during your stay as you check out.