Street Food and Local Dishes in Laos
I can’t even count the number of times people commented to me about how much the food in Laos supposedly sucks. They were all wrong. For that reason I decided to create The Street Food Guide for Laos to help guide other travelers and lovers of quality, cheap food in this wonderful country which many people will never see.
Whether you’re traveling to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, 4,000 Islands, or further south, these can be found pretty much anywhere.
Cheun Yaw (Pork Spring Rolls)
I’m a bit of a pork spring roll fanatic. I order them whenever I have enough room to eat them along with an entrée. Sometimes I order them in place of an actual main course. Pork, onions, herbs and veggies inside a crispy fried shell are the things many of my dreams are made of.
Laos consistently put out the best pork spring rolls I’ve ever tasted. The flavors were as if the meat had been marinated and the rice paper on the outside added just a touch of flavor and then melted in my mouth to allow for all the filling flavors to come through. Easily one of my favorite street foods I’ve tasted on my travels.
Better still, the street food vendors are as good or better than the restaurants and cost half the price or less. $1-2 per order of 4-6 rolls.
Feu (Beef & Noodle Soup)
If Vietnam is famous for its pho, Laos is famous for its feu, beef & noodle soup. Starting as a breakfast option early in the day, these street vendors go late into the night. They start with the constantly boiling broth, add some fresh noodles, cilantro, onion and then add a few slices of rare beef. The meat is cooked instantly in the broth and is served.
Also on the table are bean sprouts, more cilantro, chili peppers, soy sauce and more to season as desired. Make sure to experiment with these extra flavors to find your favorite style.
An incredible meal any time of the day for about $1.50.
Khao Jee (Sandwich on Baguette)
Similar to the Vietnamese banh mi, Laos offers the khao jee stuffed with pork, veggies, fresh herbs and a spicy chili sauce. Fried chicken is also sometimes offered. The ingredients are packed inside a fresh baguette that was introduced during French occupation of the region during the first half of the 1900s. These ingredients together make for a crispy outside layer with warm and delicious flavors on the inside. Add some mayo and a little extra spicy chili sauce and you’ll be in heaven. $1-2 each. If you’re hungry ask for double meat for $0.50-1 more.
Another popular Laos street food is the pancake or crepe. Made to order, these can include either sweet stuffing such as fruit or chocolate, or savory items such as a variety of meats and sauces. Simple and fresh, these are another option worth mentioning. Each cost around $1-2 depending on ingredients.
Though historically a Chinese dish, these little steamed delicacies are all over the streets in Vientiane. Wander through the night markets and head to the many local nightlife spots and grab a few of these for a snack or a full meal. Ranging from just about every type of meat and veggie option, it’s difficult not to find something that sounds delicious.
Though not as prevalent as the other street food options, some dumplings can be found. Especially in the side streets off Luang Prabang’s night market. Make sure they’re cooked fresh in front of you for extra crispiness and flavor and choose a few different options. The pork, chicken and veggie are all delicious when they’re served right out of the fryer.
Enjoy your time in Laos! If anyone speaks poorly of the food there make sure to send this post to them!
Khob Chai! (Cheers in Laotian)