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"Lao vs. French Cuisine" Luang Prabang Favorite Tip by Rodan44

Luang Prabang General: 57 reviews and 67 photos

  Lao Sausage hanging out to dry
by Rodan44

Favorite thing: There are two types of cuisine that dominate in Luang Prabang (and Laos in general), Lao and French. The former obviously being the traditional cuisine of the Lao people, and the latter a remnant from the days of colonial French Indochina.

Authentic Lao cuisine is similar to the Issan cuisine found in the bordering regions of northeast Thailand. The staple of Lao cuisine is khao niaw (sticky rice), which is a glutinous rice that is typically served in small woven baskets with every meal. It is eaten with your hands by rolling some rice into a small ball and dipping into any accompanying dishes. Next to khao niaw, the other essential ingredient in Lao cuisine is pa daek, a pungent fermented fish sauce that is used to flavor and salt most dishes. One of the most common Lao dishes you will find is Laap, which is a combination of chopped meat (chicken, duck, fish, pork, beef) with onions, chillies, fresh herbs, and spices. The Lao prefer laap seua, where the meat is chopped and served raw, but tourists will be served the version with cooked meat (for obvious reasons). In fact, much traditional Lao food is served raw.

As for French cuisine in Laos, Luang Prabang in particular has many fine French restaurants serving haute cuisine, and there are also several upscale places that serve excellent French/Asian fusion cuisine. In addition, several French cafes can be found in the city, serving cafe and patisserie. Invariably, such restaurants cater solely to tourists and expats, as the average Lao could never afford such luxurious dining. Still, even local Lao cuisine has been noticably influenced by the French, as evident by the availability of French-style baguettes, pate, and sausages in the local markets and street hawkers.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 29, 2004
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