To write an article on one personal highlight is impossible! Instead I’d like to share one of the things I’ve started to love about Laos: the food. I wish you could all try these delicious dishes and I apologize already if I get you hungry with this article.
Here is my absolute favorite: fresh fruits!
There are all kinds of exotic fruits in Laos, fruits that I had never seen before. I got to buy these every day at our local market in Ban Sikeud, just on the road to our house.
The market had actually been the last place I had gone to visit before leaving for Germany because I wanted to buy some Lao food for my family. Moreover, I had started to really enjoy using the little “passa lao” (Lao language) that I had learned during my time there, so I wanted to talk and bargain with the people there one last time.
But not only the fruits were delicious. I miss being able to “snack around” on the market and eat fried bananas, fried spring rolls, summer rolls, rice cake or a fish.
Laos and Southeast Asia in general are famous for their “sticky li” [stɪki laɪ] (Lao pronunciation of “sticky rice”). Instead of boiling the rice in water, they boil it in the steam of the boiling water. Due to its consistency you can form the sticky rice with your fingers, make a little ball and then dip it into different foods like fish, beef or pork, eggplant, or tomato dips and much more.
There is not only a salty version of sticky rice, but also a sweet one with coconut milk, mango, and sometimes banana.
Other specialities are the curry they have, the different spicy salads (such as the papaya salad) and the roasted and salted cashews:
Of course you could also eat frogs or toads as I
already wrote in my first impression article but I still stayed away from those. Laotians basically eat whichever animals are around, like we do. In their case, this also includes snakes, dogs, grasshoppers, birds, maggots.
In Naxaythong, the next biggest town near Ban Sikeud, there is a restaurant where you can grill your meal by yourself. You simply choose the meat, seafood, and vegetables you want to eat and then cook it all on the grill in your table. In the outer ring of the grill there is water with some seasoning in it which we used for boiling vegetables and eggs. The Lao version of raclette or fondue, in other words.
All in all I’ve had some great food on my plate and many treats for my taste buds!
Text and photos by S. Stoehrer
Video by A. Broghammer