Lao (or Laotian) cuisine is very different from that of other Southeast Asian countries. Despite bearing influences from the Thai, Cambodia and French cuisine, Lao food retains its pure and original tastes. The best words to describe Lao cuisine are: rustic, subtle and earthy.
Staple of Laos is sticky rice (luk khao) and other essential ingredients include Lao fish sauce (padaek), galangal and lemongrass. Like in Vietnam, Lao food also features wide use of herbs, vegetables and spices.
Lao cuisine varies greatly from region to region due to availability of ingredients and cooking methods. Popular cooking ways include grilling, boiling, steaming, searing and mixing (as in salads). Stir frying is not as popular as in Vietnam or China. The most favorite cooking way is grilling (or ping): Ping gai is grilled chicken, ping sin is grilled meat, and ping pa is grilled fish).
Unlike western cuisine, Lao greens and herbs are usually eaten raw and served undressed on the side. And unlike other Asian cuisines, Lao food is never sweet: "Sweet and sour" is generally considered bizarre and foreign in Laos. Yet another is that some dishes are bitter. There is a saying in Lao cuisine, "van pen lom; khom pen ya," which can be translated as, "sweet makes you dizzy; bitter makes you healthy."
Eating habit: Lao food is frequently eaten at room temperature. The traditional manner of eating was communal, with diners sitting on a reed mat on the wooden floor around a raised platform woven out of rattan called a ka toke. Dishes are arranged on the ka toke, which is of a standard size. Where there are many diners, multiple ka tokes will be prepared. Each ka toke will have one or more baskets of sticky rice, which is shared by all the diners at the ka toke.
The most famous Laos dish is laab, a spicy mixture of marinated meat and/ or fish eaten with other condiments like herbs, vegetables and spices.
Tam mak hoong or more popularly known as son tam is among Laos best food, a spicy green papaya salad
Typical of Luang Prabang food is mok pha, Luang Prabang style noodle. It looks really different from noodle variations in other regions of Laos as it is served with rice crackers, and cooked with several kinds of animal organs: liver, intestine, blood and heart.
Phak Naam: a salad made from a variety of water cress with a tart dressing of lime juice, egg and ground peanuts.
Laam Phak: a thick, savory stew of herbs, vegetables and lab, a salad of minced Mekong River fish and weed with spicy tart dressing.
Laam a staple of Luang Prabang cuisine: thick herb laden stew with meat vegetables and padaek
Sai ua: a sausage of pork and fresh herbs
Ua nor mai: a tender bamboo shoot stuffed with savory pork and deep fried
Khao jii: Laos baguettes (French influence)