What are Some Traditional Foods in Laos?


The traditional food of Laos owns three characteristic tastes including sourness, spiciness and sweetness, all of which combine together to create the distinctive soul and color for the Lao cuisine. So what are traditional foods in Laos?

Like many other countries in Southeast Asia, the cuisine of Laos is quite diverse, with a variety of delicious dishes such as roasted chicken, larb, sausage, steamed pork with bamboo sprout, steamed fish with banana leaves. Besides, other dishes like frogs, deep fried cuttlefish with garlic, grilled ribs and fermented pork rolls are not less attractive. Although these dishes are not strange, the cooking method is extremely unique.

Green papaya salad

In addition to the simple foods above, there are a lot of dishes bringing special characteristics of Laos including Tam Maak Hung, which is also known as green papaya salad, is considered to be a Lao specialty. The ingredients of this famous dish are pickled vegetables, papaya, yardlong bean, eggplant, all of which are then mixed with dozens of spices. The taste of this food often gives diners a very strange feeling.

Green papaya salad

Sticky rice

Regarding Lao specialties, Lao people always consider glutinous rice to be a traditional food and indispensable dish in daily meals. Lao people maintain the concept that sticky rice brings the luck to the daily life, especially New Year holidays.

Lao people especially like to eat sticky rice. After cooking, they will shape the rice into small pieces, then eat them with their hand and dip into the sauce. They assume that this simple way of eating will help them to feel the fragrance and natural sweetness of each grain of rice.

Lao sticky rice

Moreover, in Laos, in addition to the role as daily food, rice is closely associated with women. Legend has it that the goddess of rice devoted herself to the fire; after the death, the ashes of the goddess help the villagers to reap a bumper harvest so that they avoided the famine during that year. In some Phuan villages, the remains of the goddess have been kept in a small stupa built on the rice field of every family. They solemnly worship and spend a day commemorating the goddess.


Larb is one of the traditional dishes of Lao people. Furthermore, on festive days, it becomes a popular national food, bringing Lao people luck and prosperity in the new year.

Larb – a traditional Lao dish

The ingredients of the dish include beef, venison or minced pork, then the meat is well mixed with the Lao spices which are created by the blend of sourness, spiciness and sweetness and a little taste of herbs. It is quite easy to combine larb with other dishes. In particular, larb can be eaten with sticky rice or bamboo-tube rice.

Compared to the barbecue of the Tartas or Cerviche of Mexican people, Larb of Laos is not less attractive. In big parties, larb is an essential food.

Despite not being too outstanding and too special, the above-mentioned food still has a distinctive and unique flavor. Moreover, it carries the treasure of cultures of Lao people which has been passed down from generation to generation. You can enjoy these dishes in many places of Laos such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang.