When peckish many are the options to calm your hunger around the streets of any Laotian town, village or city. Rice crackers, spring roles, seasonal fruits… just walk around, visit the many food stalls and markets and choose whatever you are in the mood for!
If you are looking for a healthy option, fresh spring rolls is the answer, much nicer than the fried ones. While this type of spring rolls are originally from Vietnam, they can be found through all South East Asia. Herbs, vermicelli noodles, lettuce, spring onions and some kind of meet are wrapped in moistened rice paper. The spring rolls are served with a sweet fish sauce or hoisin dipping sauce. We just couldn’t stop eating them since we first tried them!
Another great alternative are these sweet and crispy rice cakes. Glutinous rice is first steamed, then sun dried and finally fried. The outcome is this delicious home made bite perfect to keep you going until dinnertime.
We also run into watermelon seeds, I never knew that people ate watermelon seeds… they are a bit more difficult to peel than the standard sunflower or pumpkin seeds but after hours of munching them on the eternals bus rides we became seriously addicted.
A more unusual option is the Mekong river weed cracker. Mekong river weed is sun dried together with a few other ingredients (sesame seeds, garlic, sliced tomato), then it is fried and eaten as a snack alone or together with dinner. It is like eating a very thin fishy cracker.
When we found these green seaweed Pringles, we couldn’t resist the temptation of trying them. Definitely they taste of seaweed and they are as addictive as any other Pringles.
Lao sausages and pork balls are a hit within the locals at Pakse’s riverfront. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? So there we went, we sat on the tiny plastic chairs and we asked for a plate. They brought a plate of this greasy looking sausages and a basket with all kind of raw greens (cabbage, lettuce, mint, green beans)… I never imagined myself eating sausages with raw vegetables!
If it is something sweet what you are in the mood for then rice and coconut pancakes is the one for you. Yum, yum, yum! I think in Luang Prabang we ate rice and coconut pancakes after dinner every night. I can’t emphasis enough how delicious they are! (the picture doesn’t do them much justice)
Fried banana in coconut milk was our last bite in Lao. It tasted like heaven to me after a gorgeous dinner with a cold Beerlao at a chilled local restaurant in Don Khon. It was a perfect ending for a great culinary month in Lao.