Laos - Food & Drink

Laos is a destination that attracts many tourists because of its beautiful scenery, and various cuisine at reasonable prices. Tourists visiting the land of million of elephants should not forget to try these seven specialties.

1. Klao niaw (Sticky rice)

Sticky rice is an important food in Laos, they often eat it by hand. Laotians will shape sticky rice into small balls and use it as a spoon to scoop the food or eat it with sauce. Deinla – a famous chef in Luang Prabang shared a tip to cook a perfect Klao niaw: you should soak sticky rice overnight before use, then rinse it several times before steaming in a bamboo basket. Visiting Laos, you should try eating Klao Niaw, which rice is put inside a bamboo tube and cooked on a fire.

In Laos, Buddha statues and ancestor statues are even covered by klao niaw to serve God. The image of women in Laos is often praised with the rice, due to a legend that the Goddess of Rice devoted herself to the fire to bring abundant crops. Therefore, in some villages, the tomb of a female ancestor is placed in the family’s fields.

Klao Niaw - top must-eat food in laos

Klao Niaw

2. Laap

“Laap” means lucky, the blessing of peace in Lao. The ingredients can be beef, pork, or chicken mixed with chopped livers, lemon juice, chili, etc. After mixing well, the dish will be served with raw vegetables such as lettuce and cowpea to create an extremely attractive flavor. The sourness of lemon juice, the spicy flavor of chili, etc., will give tourists an unforgettable experience.

Lao people often eat raw meat dishes to feel all the fresh and sweet taste of meat. When eaten raw, lemon juice and chili are extremely important, it helps the meat antiseptically and become blue rare, so it still keeps the fresh taste. For someone who is not used to eating raw meat like that, you can try the well-done one. It costs about 60,000 VND per dish.

Laap - typical must-try food in laos


3. Tam Mak Houng

Tam Mak Houng - one of the best dishes in laos

Tam Mak Houng

Papaya salad in Laos is called Tam Mak Houng. The selected papaya is not too green but not nearly ripe. After papaya is scraped into yarn, it will be put into the mortar to make it softer. Then it is added lemon juice, shrimp sauce, pepper, and chili. Depending on the habit of each area, the ingredients of Tam Mak Houng also change to suit the locals. While in urban areas, people add boiled snails, only vegetables are added in the countryside. In some places, Lao often adds raw crabs to the salad.

When eatingTam Mak Houng in Laos, the unique taste will give tourists a new experience unlike any other dish sold anywhere else. Many restaurants and cafes in Laos have this dish.

4. Savannakhet chicken

Savanakhet Chicken - interesting laos traditional dish

Savannakhet Chicken

Savannakhet grilled chicken is famous for its attractive taste. Tourists can come to Savannakhet to try this delicious dish. However, no need to go there, you can also enjoy it in VientianeLuang Prabang, and many other places.

After being cleaned, the chicken is covered with the typical spices of the region, then clamped to the bamboo stick. Grilling it directly on red charcoal until it is well done. Then, the aromatic of delicious spices and burning skin when grilled on charcoal makes this chicken more attractive. Savannakhet chicken is served with small sticky rice balls and “cheo boong” sauce. It costs about 50,000 kips.

5. Khausoy

Khausoy - a must-eat dish in laos


Khausoy is a famous dish in Luang Prabang, including boiled water and big noodles. They will add vegetables, spinach, dried onion, pepper, and chili sauce to the top of the bowl. Khausoy is the most important ingredient of this dish, made from chopped pork mixed with garlic, tomatoes, and spices.

The special feature of the dish is the "Khausoy sauce" because the dish is delicious or not depending on this sauce. Tasty and attractive enough to make tourists impressed from the first time. Khausoy sauce ingredients include red onion, garlic, chili, soybeans, pork, chicken, tomatoes, chili powder, etc. 

Tourists can try this dish on the road along the Mekong River in Luang Prabang for 15,000 kips per bowl.

6. Sai Oua

Sai Oua - must-try laos food

Sai Oua

Sai Oua is Laos sausage, with the main ingredients being pork and spices such as lemon, garlic, chili, etc. The pork will be ground and soaked with spices, then pushed into the pork casings. Depending on the customer, you can boil or fry it, which are both delicious.

You can see the sausages hung in some stores on the street or sold at the market. This dish is served with Nam Cheo chili sauce and sticky rice.

7. Or Lam

Or Lam - top must-try laos food

Or Lam

Or Lam is a vegetable soup in Laos, it is made from stewed vegetables to create a delicious and nutritious dish. The main ingredients to make this dish are vegetables, beans, black mushrooms, dried gourd, and chili to create a spicy flavor for the dish.

It is believed that Or Lam appeared before the 1600s, and the former Or Lam has added sakhan instead of chili like today. Many tourists are interested in the taste of this simple but attractive dish when visiting Laos.