When people think of amazing food in Southeast Asia, Laos is not likely to be the country that springs to mind. However, this landlocked country has some unique local cuisine that has developed from the ingredients and resources that are available primarily within its borders. Here are five dishes that you can’t find anywhere but Laos – at least, not the authentic versions.


A Luang Prabang speciality, orlam is a broth that is often refer to as the “forest soup”. Its ingredients include buffalo skin, vegetables, pork, and most curious of all: chilli wood. Also known as pepper wood, it adds a spicy flavour to the broth. Eating chilli wood is like eating bone marrow, though some often just leave it uneaten. Orlam is eaten with sticky rice, rolled into a ball and dipped in the broth.

View this post on Instagram

Or Lam beef stew in Luang Prabang

A post shared by Slô Street Food (@slostreetfood) on May 23, 2017 at 9:38am PDT

12 festivals and events that you should travel to in 2018

Khao Soi

A common noodle dish in Laos, the Laotian khao soi is nothing like the khao soi in Thailand’s Chiang Mai. It is a pork mince and rice noodle dish in a hearty soup, a sort of Asian version of spaghetti ragu. It is served with an abundant helping of vegetables, torn or shredded by hand before being thrown into the bowl to mix.

Buffalo sausage

Buffalo meat is commonly eaten in Laos, therefore it’s natural to find buffalo sausage in the markets. It is a staple for the Laotians, who have been keeping buffalo for generations. Be warned that most buffalo sausage in Laos is spicy as they add chilli and pepper. They are usually served sliced.

Ping Kai

View this post on Instagram

#Street #food #bbq #meat #laos #luangprabang #nightMarket #local #pingKai

A post shared by Serene Chiam (@chiammy) on Jul 13, 2018 at 2:13am PDT

The go-to dish for meat lovers, ping kai is the Laotian version of barbecue. It can mean either grilled pork or chicken with local herbs and is often served on a skewer. While one can argue that it is not so unique, ping kai is paired with sticky rice or green papaya salad – which is unique to Laos.

Ritz-Carlton’s luxury cruise liners are perfect for the ‘1 per centers’


View this post on Instagram

Sssshht....village LaoLao is being made. #ricewiskey#eendruppelke#paul#laolao

A post shared by Kelly watch the world (@kelly_watch_the_world) on Apr 4, 2018 at 8:59am PDT

A local rice whisky that is the most popular alcohol in Laos, lao-lao is a clear liquid that is more potent than it looks. Lao-Lao is also used in Baci ceremonies – served neat in a small glass, to be downed like a shot. Some variations can be found, such as a medicinal one with scorpions or flavoured with honey, which are amber in colour.

Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter