What’s Cooking in Lao Kitchens

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And now for the food.

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My dad’s friend took us to the best food we had in all of Vientiane: Lao Kitchen. We ate a lot of sub-par food, and not a lot of really local food (in restaurants, that is; of course our friends served us local food all the time. More on that below).

Photos of Lao Kitchen, Vientiane
This photo of Lao Kitchen is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Please, please, if you are ever there, go and get the mint-lime smoothie. It’s not sweet or yogurt based, but it was amazing. Huge handfuls of mint leaves with crushed iced and topped with lime juice and soda water. Very refreshing and super unique. We ordered a whole bunch of dishes to share, and they were all good.

Photos of Lao Kitchen, Vientiane
This photo of Lao Kitchen is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I was finally taught the proper way to eat the rice out of the little bamboo baskets it is served in: dip your fingers in, roll a little ball of rice, then use that to scoop up the curry or veggies.

Photos of Lao Kitchen, Vientiane
This photo of Lao Kitchen is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Pardon the Trip Advisor photos, but I was way too busy eating to take photos. Also, my fingers were sticky. But you can see both the mint smoothie and the bamboo container with the rice in the photo above. I also tried green papaya salad, because it’s traditional, but decided I’m not a fan. Not because of the salad so much, but because green papaya is just not good. My friend had the mango sticky rice for dessert, but at that point, I was way to full.

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This was the more typical fare that we ate with our friends. They put all the food on big trays and then set them on little stands like these:

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Everyone circles around with their rice bowl, plucking fish, vegetables and meat with their chopsticks into their rice bowls. This day was especially funny, because someone told one of the British guys that the middle bowl was snake, and he decided to fast that day. I was excited to try the snake, before they told me it was just fish.

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I love this photo of the fast-moving women in the kitchen where they cooked and cleaned up our lunch.

And this is where we spent most of our time with our friends, in the real world of Laos.

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