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Exploring Laotian Cuisine, Recommended by Chef Gordon Ramsay

Laos, a hidden gem in Southeast Asia, is renowned for its lush landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and, most notably, its vibrant and diverse cuisine. When it comes to discovering the culinary delights of Laos, who better to guide us than the world-renowned chef, Gordon Ramsay? During his travel to Laos, Ramsay has delved deep into the heart of Laotian food, uncovering flavors and dishes that captivate the palate. Here are some must-try dishes in Laos, as recommended by the famous chef himself.


Sai Oua

1. Larb (Laap) - El Plato Nacional

Larb is a traditional Laotian dish that Ramsay praises for its perfect balance of flavors. This minced meat salad is often made with chicken, beef, or pork, and is seasoned with fresh herbs, lime juice, fish sauce, and toasted ground rice. The combination of these ingredients creates a dish that is both refreshing and savory, a true representation of Laotian cuisine. Ramsay particularly enjoys the use of local herbs and the subtle heat from the chilies, which make each bite an explosion of taste.

laos chicken salad

Photo Credit: Caroline (2015), LARP (LARB GAI, THAI/LAOS CHICKEN SALAD)


2. Tam Mak Hoong (Papaya Salad)

Another dish that captured Ramsay's attention is Tam Mak Hoong, the Laotian version of green papaya salad. Known for its crunchy texture and tangy flavor, this salad is made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, chilies, lime, and fish sauce. What sets it apart is the addition of padek, a traditional fermented fish sauce that adds depth and complexity to the dish. Ramsay admires the way this salad harmonizes sweetness, sourness, spiciness, and umami, making it a delightful dish that every vegetarian has to try at least one time.

laos green papaya salad

Photo Credit: Foodaliciously, Laos Green Papaya Salad


3. Khao Niew (Sticky Rice)

No meal in Laos is complete without Khao Niew, or sticky rice, a staple in Laotian cuisine. Ramsay notes that this glutinous rice, traditionally steamed in a bamboo basket, is a perfect accompaniment to many Laotian dishes. The slightly chewy texture of sticky rice makes it ideal for scooping up flavorful sauces and juices from other dishes, enhancing the overall dining experience. Ramsay says sticky rice is important in Laotian culture. It's usually eaten with hands and shared with loved ones.

laos mango sticky rice

Photo Credit: Ananda (2021), Khao Niew Ma Muang (Mango Sticky Rice)


4. Sai Oua (Laotian Sausage)

Sai Oua is a traditional Laotian sausage that is beloved for its bold and complex flavors. The dish starts with high-quality minced pork that is mixed with fragrant lemongrass, citrusy kaffir lime leaves, and a blend of aromatic spices. The mixture is then stuffed into natural casings and grilled over an open flame until perfectly cooked. Sai Oua is often served as a snack or appetizer in Laotian cuisine, but it can also be enjoyed as a main dish with sticky rice and fresh herbs. Ramsay is particularly fond of the robust flavors and the use of fresh, local ingredients in Sai Oua, making it a must-try for anyone visiting Laos.

sai oua

Photo Credit: Tasteatlas, Sai Oua


5. Mok Pa (Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves)

Mok Pa is a traditional Laotian dish that involves steaming fish with herbs and spices, all wrapped in banana leaves. Ramsay praises this dish for its delicate flavors and the aromatic experience it offers. The fish, often catfish or tilapia, is marinated with ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and dill, then steamed until tender. The banana leaves impart a subtle, earthy flavor to the fish, making Mok Pa a delightful and healthy option.

hor mok pla

Photo Credit: Jum (2021), Hor Mok Pla


Conclusion

Gordon Ramsay's culinary journey through Laos highlights the country's rich and diverse food culture. Each dish he recommends offers a unique taste of Laotian cuisine, characterized by fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and traditional cooking methods. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or a curious traveler, these dishes are sure to provide an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

So, contact Nadova Tours now for a culinary adventure and to explore more interesting things in Laos!


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