Lao cuisine is the cuisine of Laos, which is distinct from other Southeast Asian cuisines. Saiphin Moore, who owns Lao Café in London,UK, explains all you need to know about the ever-popular cuisine. Expect zingy salads, curries, sticky rice, grilled meat and lots of herbs.
Bamboo shoot salad (Soup-nor-mai)
Made from grilled young bamboo shoots, which are shredded, mixed with chilli flakes, lime juice and fermented fish sauce, and garnished with toasted rice, spring onions and coriander.
Banana flower/Blossom (Hua-plee)
Used in many curries and soups. It is best picked before the tree produces any fruits, so that the flower meat is more flavoursome.
Banana leaf (Bai-tong)
Used when steaming in dishes, from sticky rice to ‘mok’ (steamed curry paste).
This was introduced during the French occupation and has become a key ingredient.
Fermented fish sauce (Pla-raa)
Usually made from anchovies, and used in salads and curries as a base, adding an umami flavour.
Grilled sticky rice (Khao-jee)
Although steamed sticky rice accompanies most meals, grilled sticky rice is a special treat. It is shaped onto a skewer, dipped in egg yolk, then grilled over charcoal.
Mixed mushroom curry (Gang-hed)
A hot, spicy curry made with foraged mushrooms, the juice from yanang leaves, lemongrass, galangal, chillies and dill.
Pickled crab (Phoo-na)
Field crabs, found in rice fields, are salted and pickled, and mostly used in papaya salad.