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Vientiane Food Tour: Explore Top Best Local Street Foods In Vientiane, Laos

Street food tantalizes visitors from across the globe, providing an unparalleled insight into local culture and gastronomy. But what about Vientiane and Laos? Embark on an adventure with Autour Asia to uncover the best local street foods in Vientiane, Laos that promise an irresistible allure, leaving you craving for more after just one taste.

1. Larb

Larb, pronounced as "lahp", the best local street food in Vientiane, stands out as the vibrant Laotian salad that proudly claims the title of the country's official national dish. Far from the ordinary leafy green salads, larb orchestrates a harmonious blend of finely chopped or minced meats–be it chicken, beef, duck, or fish-intricately combined with a lively ensemble of fresh herbs, crisp shallots, and spicy chilies. Taking center stage is the toasted sticky rice powder, known as "khao khua", introducing a nutty richness and captivating texture. Fish sauce and lime juice contribute a tangy balance, while hints of galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves impart exotic aromas. Traditionally paired with sticky rice and an array of raw vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce, and cabbage, larb invites a delightful interplay of textures and temperatures to the dining experience.
Larb - the best local street foods in Vientiane, Laos

2. Tam Mak Hoong ( Papaya Salad)

Imagine a refreshing, spicy explosion of flavors in your mouth! That's Tam Mak Hoong, a Lao papaya salad bursting with crunchy green papaya, juicy cherry tomatoes, and fragrant herbs. It's all about balance: sweet from palm sugar, salty from fish sauce, sour from lime juice, and fiery from chilies. The principal ingredient is unripe papaya, roughly shredded and pounded in a mortar with garlic, shrimp paste, and chilies to release their funky punch. Then, in comes a medley of chopped veggies and herbs like green beans, mint, and basil, adding texture and freshness. Finally, a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of fish sauce tie everything together. No fancy cooking is required, just a bit of pounding and mixing, and you're rewarded with a vibrant, light salad that's perfect for a hot day or alongside any Lao feast. So, take a fork and dive into the magic of Tam Mak Hoong!
Enjoy Tam Mak Hoong in Vientiane

3. Khao PiaK Sen (Lao noodle soup) - Best street food in Vientiane

Khao PiaK Sen, one of the best vientiane laos street foods, a Vientiane's beloved noodle soup that's as simple as it is delicious. Picture thin rice noodles dancing in a rich chicken broth, dotted with tender shredded chicken, spring onions, and crispy shallots. But Khao Piak Sen's magic lies in the secret weapon: a dollop of sticky rice nestled beneath the broth, adding a unique textural twist and making it a satisfying meal in itself.
Khao PiaK Sen, one of the best vientiane laos street food
Finding Khao Piak Sen is easy – it's everywhere in Vientiane, from street vendors to fancy restaurants. No matter where you go, the basic ingredients remain the same. But like any beloved dish, each vendor adds their touch, whether it's a sprinkle of chilies for a fiery kick or a handful of herbs for a fragrant touch. So dive in, explore, and find your perfect bowl of Khao Piak Sen – it's a surefire way to experience the heart and soul of Vientiane, one slurp at a time.

4. Mok Pa (Laos steamed fish in banana leaves)

Mok Pa is a Lao style steamed fish wrapped in banana leaf, it is quite similar to the Cambodian Amok and is the best local street food in vientiane laos. The basic ingredients are white fish, sticky rice powder, shallots, garlic, chili, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, basil and green onions. Mok Pa means "wrapped fish", prepared using steam to cook. Pieces of fish, usually freshwater fish like tilapia or catfish, are marinated with herbs and spices, stacked with sticky rice and meticulously wrapped in banana leaves. Sealed tightly, the fish mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed in a bamboo cage, creating packets of pure delicious flavor.
Take a Vientiane food tour by enjoying Mok Pa
When you open the Mok Pa package, you will see the harmonious aroma of fish and spices. The fish is perfectly cooked, flaky, and moist, imbued with the aroma of banana leaves and the warmth of herbs, with the sweetness of the banana leaves balancing the saltiness of the fish sauce and the mild spiciness of the chili.

5. Sien Savanh (Lao Heavenly Beef Jerky)

Sien Savanh, Vientiane Laos street food, a quintessential dish in Lao cuisine, is also known as beef jerky in the capital city of Vientiane. Widely cherished by the local population, this culinary delight involves tearing beef into small pieces and marinating them with a blend of black sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, pepper, jaggery, and roasted white sesame. The marinated beef is then steamed and sun-dried or prepared in the kitchen. Once ready, the dried beef is served alongside sticky rice or can be dipped in the flavorful Jaew Maak len sauce, crafted from tomatoes and chili peppers. The resulting taste, characterized by its fleshy and chewy texture, leaves a lasting impression on visitors. For those eager to experience the delectable Sien Savanh, it can be conveniently purchased at the Vangthong Food Market, Night Market in Vientiane.
Laos Heavenly Beef Jerky

6. Ping Kai (Grilled chicken)

Take a Vientiane food tour, craving something juicy and tasty while exploring Vientiane. Look no further than Ping Kai, a Lao street food superstar! Imagine this: tender chicken, marinated in a secret blend of spices, flattened and grilled over hot coals till it's golden brown and bursting with flavor. You can grab it whole or by the leg, and it's always served with sticky rice for the perfect balance.
Ping Kai, the best local street food in Vientiane
Ping Kai isn't just delicious, it's a cultural experience. Watch friendly vendors expertly grill the chicken, inhale the smoky aroma, and join the locals who flock to street stalls and restaurants for this beloved dish. Whether you're a BBQ fiend or just adventurous, Ping Kai is a must-try in Vientiane. So take a bite, soak up the local vibes, and discover why Ping Kai reigns supreme in the kingdom of Lao street food!

7. Khao Nom Kok (Laos coconut pancake)

Imagine tiny, golden treasures nestled in a hot, cast-iron pan. That's Khao Nom Kok, a coconut pancake, one of the best local street food in vientiane that you shouldn’t miss when come here! These bite-sized delights are made from a simple batter of rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar, creating a sweet and slightly crispy shell. The magic happens when the batter sizzles in the half-moon-shaped molds, forming little pockets ready for a sprinkle of magic.
Khao Nom Kok in Vientiane, Laos
This isn't just any pancake, though. Each Khao Nom Kok is a burst of flavor in your mouth. The coconut milk infuses the batter with a creamy richness, while the crispy exterior gives way to a soft, melt-in-your-mouth center. Some vendors add a touch of pandan leaf for an extra hint of floral surprise. So, whether you're wandering the bustling night markets or tucked away in a cozy cafe, keep your eyes peeled for these little golden gems–they're sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more!

8. What to eat in Vientiane? Enjoy Khao Jee pate (Lao baguette)

Khao Je pate, crispy, soft French bread under a layer of delicious pork liver pate. This is not just a sandwich, but a favorite in the Vientiane food tour. Picture juicy marinated pork or spicy Lao sausage inside, along with the cool crunch of fresh papaya, cucumber, and vibrant herbs. A little sweetness from the pickled carrots and the sweetness of the Jeow bong chili sauce will complete your taste. This explosion of flavor is not only just a meal; it's a cultural experience, a fusion of French heritage and Laotian ingenuity. So skip the fancy restaurants and buy Khao Jee pate from a bustling street vendor. Watch the world go by as you enjoy the symphony of textures and flavors, and let the taste of Vientiane linger on your lips long after the last bite. We believe that your taste buds will thank you for the trip!
Khao Jee Paté in Vientiane

9. Fawm Kauv or Nem Khao (Steamed Rice Rolls)

Vientiane Laos street food scene boasts many delights, and Fawm Kauv, also known as Nem Khao, is a must-try for any visitor. These steamed rice rolls are more than just their name suggests. Imagine thin, translucent rice wrappers cradling a savory filling of minced pork, mushrooms, and glass noodles. Shallots, green onions, and herbs like mint and kaffir lime leaves add pops of color and flavor. Each bite is a textural adventure: the soft chew of the rice contrasts with the springy noodles and the satisfying crunch of the vegetables. The savory pork filling, seasoned with fish sauce, garlic, and chilies, takes center stage, offering a burst of umami balanced by the subtle sweetness of the rice and the freshness of the herbs. Dipped in the accompanying nam phrik (chili sauce), Fawm Kauv becomes an explosion of sweet, sour, spicy, and savory notes, a true representation of Vientiane Laos street food simplicity and deliciousness.
Fawm Kauv, top Vientiane Laos street food

10. Khao Jee (Sticky Rice with egg)

Imagine a crispy, golden shell cradling the warm softness of sticky rice. This is Khao Jee, a must-try street food in Vientiane, Laos. It's all about taking leftover sticky rice, a Lao staple, and giving it a delicious makeover.
First, the rice gets molded into patties and dipped in a beaten egg. Then, they hit the grill or pan, sizzling until the egg transforms into a golden, slightly crunchy coat. Each bite is a delightful contrast - the crispy exterior giving way to the soft, chewy rice inside. Khao Jee is often enjoyed solo, dipped in spicy-sweet dipping sauces, or as a side to grilled meats and fresh vegetables. It's a simple yet satisfying snack that captures the essence of Lao comfort food – affordable, tasty, and always there to put a smile on your face. So, next time you're in Vientiane, skip the fancy restaurants and hunt down a Khao Jee vendor. You'll be rewarded with a burst of flavor and a taste of the best local street food in Vientiane, Laos that's sure to stay with you long after your last bite.
Khao Jee, a specialty in Vientiane

11. Sai Oua (Lao Sausage)

Sai Oua, also known as Lao sausage, is an explosion of Southeast Asian flavors. This bright red sausage creates an appeal with chopped fatty pork marinated and grilled with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, and chili mixed with garlic, cilantro, and fish sauce to create an irresistibly complex flavor. Coarsely ground meat, usually a mixture of pork shoulder, belly, and snout, explodes with the richness of fish sauce, the richness of lemongrass and galangal, and the warmth of grilled sticky rice. This adds interesting textural contrast and helps the sausages stick together. The finished product is a deep red, almost crimson, speckled with green flecks and glistening fat. Bite into Sai Oua and you will feel the salty and slightly sweet taste balanced by the spiciness of chili and the refreshing aroma of lemongrass. It's a flavor adventure in every bite!
What to eat in Vientiane? Try Sai Oua in Laos

12. Yall Dip (Fresh Spring Rolls)

Looking for a delicious and crispy spring roll recipe to add to your collection? Enjoy Vientiane's Yall Dip, also known as fresh spring rolls, is a Vientiane street food staple bursting with vibrant flavors and textures. Picture translucent rice paper wrappers cradling a rainbow of fillings: These translucent rice paper parcels burst with a symphony of colors and textures. Imagine emerald green lettuce, vibrant purple cabbage, and crisp white cucumber, all nestled alongside bean sprouts, thin rice noodles, and fragrant herbs like mint and cilantro. A quick, protein-filled dish, often with succulent grilled pork or plump shrimp, adding delicious flavor to the mix. Each bite is a refreshing contrast: cool, crunchy vegetables against the soft chew of rice paper and the satisfying texture of the protein. The dipping sauce, a sweet and spicy mix of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chili flakes, ties the flavors together with a tangy kick. Forget fancy descriptions -Yall Dip is an explosion of Lao street food goodness, simple, delicious, and a must-try for any visitor.
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Yall Dip, fresh spring Rolls in Vientiane

13. Laos insect dishes

The Laos insects dishes, the popular street food in Vientiane, Laos, display a variety of deep-fried items, including crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and worms. Expertly seasoned with a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, and chili, these insects are deep-fried until they reach a satisfying crispness. Served with a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar, this platter offers an exceptional culinary experience. In Laos, insects are a widely popular food source, valued for their protein and nutrient content. Laos' insect platter stands out as a popular means of sampling a wide variety of insects, each with unique flavors and textures. This unique dish caters to people of all ages, making it an adventurous and memorable culinary exploration.
Laos insect dishes, what to eat in Vientiane?

14. Laos Coffee

In the bustling streets of Vientiane, Laos, amidst the vibrant sights and sounds, you'll find a unique street food: strong, rich, and aromatic Lao coffee. Unlike the fancy espresso drinks you might be used to, Lao coffee is a simple yet satisfying brew steeped in tradition. Traditionally, Lao coffee is prepared using a filter made from a sock-like bag called a phin. Coarsely ground beans, sourced from the Bolaven Plateau known for its high-quality Arabica and Robusta beans, are placed in the phin, and hot water is slowly poured over them. The resulting dark coffee, often condensed and milky, boasts a bold flavor with a hint of caramel and a smooth, frothy texture.
For a truly authentic experience, grab a seat at a streetside stall and watch the vendors expertly brew your coffee. Enjoy it piping hot, or try the local favorite: Ice café - Lao coffee mixed with condensed milk and served over ice. Sweet and refreshing, it's the perfect pick-me-up on a hot day. So, next time you're in Vientiane, skip the chain cafes and delve into the local culture with a cup of authentic Lao coffee. It's a delicious and affordable way to experience the city's unique vientiane street food scene.
Laos coffee- top best vientiane street food

15. Laos Beer - the best local street food in Vientiane

Laos boasts a street food scene as diverse as its landscapes, and no exploration is complete without raising a glass of the local brew. Lao beers are lagers, typically light and refreshing, perfect for combating the Southeast Asian heat. Forget fancy hops and complex flavor profiles – here, simplicity reigns supreme.
Lao Beer, the country's most popular brand, sets the standard. This pale lager pours a clear, golden color and offers a clean, crisp taste with slightly sweet malt notes and a subtle bitterness. It's perfect for pairing with spicy street food, its lightness cutting through the heat without overwhelming the palate. Other local brews like Beerlao Dark offer a slightly richer flavor profile with hints of caramel, while regional brands like Lar Beer present options infused with local ingredients like lemongrass or ginger.
Lao beer, a must-try specialty in Vientiane street food tour
So, raise a glass and join the locals in a toast to "sabaidee!" (cheers!). Lao beer isn't just a drink; it's a way of life, a celebration of community, and the simple pleasures of good food and good company. With each sip, you'll not only quench your thirst but also immerse yourself in the vibrant Laotian street food culture.
Here is the list of the best local street food in Vientiane, Laos which is highly recommended by Autour Asia. May these culinary delights elevate your experiences in Laos, creating cherished memories with your loved ones and friends.
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