Sandwiched between Vietnam in the east and Thailand in the west, this narrow and long Southeast Asian, socialist country’s cookery was influenced largely by the French. Still today, French-style baguette and other breads and pastries play an important role in Laotian cooking.
Thai cuisine has also influenced food preparation in Laos.
Lao dishes are light and fragrant, unlike Thai specialties covered with oil, and coconut milk.
Mint and dill figure prominently as flavouring agents.
An special feature of Lao cooking is that sweet is never mixed with savoury, hence no sugar is added to any savoury dish.
Rice builds the foundation of all meals.
Food is designed for finger eating. Sticky rice is formed to a ball and dipped into the food.
Soups are often served before the main course to stave off hunger.
The flavours are brash, bold, and bright and always fresh. Housewives shop daily by necessity, and food is harvested at the peak of ripeness and flavour the day it comes to the marketplace.
Fresh vegetables, freshwater fish, poultry, duck, pork, beef and water buffalo are used to flavour the rice.
Coconut milk plays and important role in gravies, along with line juice, lemon grass, coriander, chillies, garlic, mint, ground peanuts, tamarind juice and ginger.
Foods are mostly stir fried or boiled. Other methods of cooking do not play an important role except for baking which is mostly employed for bread.
Fresh fruits are preferred instead of desserts.