Food, glorious food! If you are keen to try some of the most delicious local dishes on offer while you’re in town, check out this blog which offers up some tasty suggestions – from smoky eggplant dip to salted barbequed fish.
1. Luang Prabang Sausage
When you wander around Luang Prabang, you’ll notice sausages hanging from market stall stands and in shop fronts. Made from fatty pork and seasoned with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic, salt, fish sauce, galangal and chilies – this Lao specialty is often served up at weddings and traditional celebrations. There are different types of sausage including one variety that is stuffed with cooked sticky rice and then left to ‘sour’ at room temperature for a few of days. There’s also blood sausage, which is popular with locals.
2. Eggplant dip with sticky rice
If you’re looking for a healthy and moreish snack – try dipping some sticky rice into the local smoked eggplant dip known as Jeow Mak Keua. This delicious dish is often served as an entrée in restaurants and is made by barbequing or smoking the eggplant, then mashing it with a range of ingredients – including garlic and chilies. Take a small portion of sticky rice, roll it into a ball in your hand and then scoop up some of the smoky dip….yum!
3. Barbequed meat
You’ll find vendors close to the night and morning market selling a range of fish and meat products that have been barbequed curbside. Whether it’s a river fish that has been salted and cooked over hot coals or half a chook that has been marinated and barbequed – there’s a wide variety of tasty protein on offer. If you have a sensitive stomach, ask the vendor to cook the meat in front of you, rather than purchasing something that might have been sitting at the stall for a few hours. Usually there’ll be sticky rice for sale nearby.
Luang Prabang is renowned for having the tastiest Khaiphaen in Southeast Asia. This snack is made from freshwater green algae which is gathered from the riverbed in the dry season. It’s then washed, hung to dry, pounded and pressed into fine sheets along with pieces of garlic and sprinklings of sesame seeds. Before eating, the sheets are flash-fried and then often served with chili dip and Beer Lao. Khaiphaen looks a lot like Japanese nori and is rich in minerals and vitamins.
5. Noodle soup
Have you ever wondered what locals in Luang Prabang have for breakfast? The answer is – noodle soup! They also enjoy this meal for lunch and dinner. There are many types to try in the town – from clear pho-style soup with rice noodles – to duck blood soup. We recommend sampling the local version of Khao Soi which is usually made with flat rice noodles topped with minced pork, chilies, tomatoes and fermented soy beans. It’s a very cheap meal and is bound to fill you with energy so you can keep exploring Luang Prabang.