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Laos Foods and Drinks

Lao food is traditionally eaten with sticky rice, with the fingers. In the countryside, people will all eat family style, sitting on the floor, sharing a few dishes. Traditional Lao food is dry, spicy and very delicious. The food eaten in Laos is influenced by its neighbours and the colonial French.

Laos Food

Lao food is traditionally eaten with sticky rice, with the fingers. In the countryside, people will all eat family style, sitting on the floor, sharing a few dishes. Traditional Lao food is dry, spicy and very delicious. The food eaten in Laos is influenced by its neighbours and the colonial French. Here are some favourites:
Laap, a traditional Lao food is made from chopped meat, chicken or duck is a favourite. The finely chopped meat, spices and broth is mixed with uncooked rice grains that have been dry fried, and crushed. Laap is eaten with a plate of raw vegetables and sticky rice.
Tam Mak Houng is a salad made from sliced raw papaya, garlic, chile, peanuts, sugar, fermented fish sauce and lime juice - it can be extremely spicy, so be careful!

Som moo is fermented pork sausage, found in many forms. The sausage is made from raw pork - sometimes lean, sometimes pork skin. Som moo may be eaten raw or cooked. A mixture of som moo, tam mak koung and laap make a popular Lao lunchtime meal.
Barbequed som moo, served Vietnamese style is popular in Laos. Known as Naem Nuang, it is served with transparent rice paper, thin noodles and lots of herbs, vegetables, lettuce and a sauce. You take all the ingredients, and build your own spring roll - watch the locals to see how it is done.
Foe (pronounced like the British English 'fur') is the name for noodle soup, which can be found everywhere in Laos. It is simailar in style to the chinese noodle soup found allover Asia.
French Baguettes are found in the larger towns, served for breakfast, filled as a sandwich with pate, moo yor (a pork lunchmeat), vegetables, and chile sauce. Baguettes are also dunked into coffee for breakfast.
As well as French bread, you will find a lot of salad in Laos. The traditional lao diet includes a lot of raw vegetables - but the French left the tossed salad behind. In Luang Prabang, they make a delicious salad made from watercress.

Laos Drinks

Coffee can be found just about everywhere in Laos. Lao coffee is made in a coffee sock and is very thick, strong and dark black. It is served in a small glass with a couple of tablespoons of condensed milk at the bottom. Coffee is always served with a chaser of either weak black tea or warm water. Strangely enough, real coffee is hard to find in hotels and restaurants, where, as in much of Asia, Nescaf? and Coffeemate are the order of the day.
Tea, made strong, with condensed milk, served indian style is quite common and can be found in many places. Chinese tea is served in teapots in most cheaper restaurants and noodle stalls.

Water served in jugs in restaurants is quite safe to drink and always comes from large 20 litter bottles of purified water. If in doubt, order bottled water. Bottled water can be found just about everywhere in the country with the exception of remote villages.
Soft drinks can be found all over the country. They are all imported, and relatively expensive compared to local drinks. Do not expect to find diet sodas though.
Beer Lao There is only one beer that can be found in Laos, with the exception of a few hotels and expensive restaurants in Vientiane. Beer Lao is one of the best, if not the best beer in Asia - that's what all expatriates say who live in Laos. Beer Lao comes in large bottles that sell for well under $US1. Drink it cold, and enjoy. Beer Lao is also sold in cans, for export and can be found in six packs or cases at Wattay Airport and at the Friendship Bridge duty free shop.
Lao Lao is found all over the country - it is rice whiskey, and the flavour and methods of manufacture varies all over the country. Visitors to the Pak Ou caves near Luang Prabang will probably stop at the well known village of Ban Xang Hai, where they distill rice whiskey - which you can see being made on the banks of the Mekong river.

 
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