The culinary culture of Laos is influenced so much by the cuisine of neighboring countries. However, there are still dishes that entirely from Laos, and larb (also called laap or lahp) is one of them.
In the Lao language, larb means “lucky”, symbolizing good wishes of happiness, peace that Laotians want to send to relatives, friends or even guests. This dish also appears in northeast Thailand.
It’s not for no reason that many people believe this is nation dish of Laos. Larb has rich but still elegant, tender and fresh flavor, very hard to describe.
Perhaps one of reasons it is so popular is hot, dry conditions in Laos. This is one of the most popular dishes on hot traditional Lao day.
Larb may be cooked from any kind of meat, mostly chicken, pork, beef, duck or fish. Some restaurants even use mushrooms or tofu instead to serve the vegetarians. The meat can either be raw or cooked, minced and mixed with fish sauce, chili, lime juice.
After mixing, larb is served with some kinds of herb and vegetable like mint leaves, spring onions, lettuce, cow peas… Together, they create such eye-catching dish with attractive aroma. The sourness of lime juice, the spicy taste of chili, the aroma of herbs… all give you an unforgettable experience.
It would be an omission if larp is not eaten with Lao sticky rice and raw vegetables. Sticky rice is the most important dish in the daily life of Laos. Even in formal parties or warm family meals, people often eat sticky rice. After enjoying larb with many rich flavors, slightly sweet, supple, aromatic rice would be a perfect choice for your taste buds.
Tourists often say that, if you come to this country without trying larb, that means you trip is simply not complete. It’s a very Lao dish that you can not find anywhere else easily.