Welcome to Oudomxay Province, Laos   laos simply logo
the Province Heart of Northern, Laos  
Community-Base Eco-tourism in Laos  
Oudomxay Province, Laos
Welcome to Oudomxay the Heart of Northern Laos
Oudomxay Info
Lao Cooking in Oudomxay

Bring a taste of Lao home to your friends - learn how to cook Lao cuisine! If you are a first-time visitor to South-east Asia you may not have discovered the distinguishing features of Lao cuisine. That is because many restaurants offer variations of Thai cuisine. Traditionally Lao meals are served communally, with a range of dishes spread to share. Most commonly there will be a soup, grilled or steamed meat or fish, the ubiquitous sticky rice served in a bamboo basket and always a large plate of herbs and the many and varied green leafy vegetables that abound. Dipping sauces, usually a spicy chili paste accompany the meal. The cuisine is based on fresh food stuffs, with meats and fish grilled or steamed. Low in fat and high in greens, vegetables and herbs are an integral element of any major meal. The fresh flavors that you will encounter again and again in true Lao cuisine are galangal, lime juice, lemongrass, kaffir lime, local basil varieties, coriander, garlic, ginger and surprisingly, mint and dill.

Visiting any of the Oudomxay food markets demonstrate the range and importance of these vital ingredients. You will undoubtedly encounter Laap, the national dish made from finely chopped meat, fish or poultry, flavored with lemongrass and herbs. Traditionally made with raw meats, it is now readily served cooked to accommodate Western tastes, but the distinctive taste of mint is a reminder that this herb was widely used to impart freshness to uncooked foods in the past.

There's a practical reason traditional Lao cuisine does not centre on liquid or oily dishes: the staple sticky or glutinous rice. Sticky rice is eaten with the fingers; the consistency makes it difficult to eat any other way. So to keep hands clean and dry, to avoid dropping rice into communal dishes, the style of cooking has adapted to suit. Rice is rolled into balls and the drier grilled or steamed meats are enhanced by the delicious range of sauces into which the rice is dipped.

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