Top 7 Must-Eat Street Food in Luang Prabang

Top 7 Must-Eat Street Food in Luang Prabang

From savoury sausages to mini coconut pancakes, to downright exotic nosh (grilled bee larvae, anyone?), the street food in Luang Prabang is just plain mouthwatering.

Luang Prabang is a small town in northern Laos and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And in case you didn’t know where Laos is, it’s the thin strip between Thailand and Vietnam. That said, this landlocked country has no shortage of fish (at least, the freshwater ones), courtesy of the Mekong river it shares with Vietnam and Thailand.

The Mekong river isn’t the only thing shared between them; with its generous use of fish sauce, lemongrass and coriander, Luang Prabang also boasts a range of culinary delights influenced by Vietnamese and Thai-style cooking.

So whether you’re strolling through the morning market, admiring the fresh produce from locals, or roaming the night street food market and gawking at the sheer spread of delicacies; just try and keep yourself from drooling as the various aromas tempt your taste buds.

1. Khmom Ang

Apologies to our trypophobic readers. Image Credit: Atlas Obscura

The grilled bee honeycomb with larvae is for adventurous eaters only. While usually more well-known in Cambodia, this grilled snack has made a name for itself in Luang Prabang.

Small slabs of honeycomb – with bee larvae still nestled in their chambers – are cut and wrapped in banana leaves before they’re grilled over charcoal. Eating it feels like digging into dense, chewy scrambled eggs with a tinge of honey in each bite.

That, and a pop of ‘juice’ from the larvae.

2. Khao Gee

Image Credit: Anna Lee

Alright, enough of the strange foods; this is a guide meant for the people.

Although it looks like an oversized fish-cake on a stick, Khao Gee is essentially sticky rice pressed and moulded into a flat-cake, lightly dipped in an egg wash and grilled over coals, giving it a thin, smokey and slightly crispy skin layer.

This common snack is usually served with a touch of a dark, smokey and slightly spicy paste made from dried fish.

3. Khao Nom Jork

Image Credit: Frank

Have you ever wanted to deep fry a cupcake? Because Khao Nom Jork vendors in Luang Prabang markets are way ahead of you. Khao Nom Jork, or mung bean cake, is a deep fried cupcake made with sticky rice flour and stuffed with yellow mung bean.

When freshly deep fried, the outside is golden and crispy, but a bite into this steaming-hot small cake gives way to a creamy potato-like texture, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Be careful not to burn your mouth on this before you sample the other snacks!

4. Rice Noodle Roll

Image Credit: Lauren Girardin

This rice noodle roll is Luang Prabang’s version of Vietnam’s famous Bánh cuốn.

Imagine a crepe, but it’s white and translucent, soft and silky smooth. Now stuff that crepe with a little bit of onion and minced meat, then top it off with crispy shallots and a special concoction of fish sauce, chilli, lime juice and crushed peanuts.

And there you have it; Laos’ chee cheong fun.

5. Sau Oua

Image Credit: Shankar S.

Don’t be fooled by its appearance; These sausages have a high herb content.

Stuffed with green onion, coriander, lemongrass and meat, these sausages are smoked, grilled and intensely fragrant. The salty meat, though not fatty, is admittedly greasy, but the herbs cut through the oil with each bite.

It’s no wonder these sausages are so addictive.

6. Ping Pa

Image Credit: Reuben Teo

If you haven’t already gathered from the previous examples, most snacks in Luang Prabang are grilled, so it’s no surprise to find grilled meat on this list; specifically, the grilled Mekong fish.

Step into the market and you’ll be faced with a wide range of choices: from chicken to catfish and tilapia, to local freshwater fishes fished from the Mekong river. Hint: The fish farmed fresh from the Mekong are the much cheaper ones.

The whole fish is marinated, salted, and then barbequed, resulting in a crisp, smokey and overall pleasant taste of the soft Mekong fish in your mouth.

7. Kanom Krok

Image Credit: Lucero Viktoria

These coconut rice pancakes, usually served in a bag or banana leaf and eaten by hand, are a common sight as you stroll through Luang Prabang’s night market.

The recipe is simple: A mixture of coconut milk, sugar and sticky rice flour is distributed into little round moulds and cooked over hot coals. Before the batter is completely cooked through, two halves are combined to form a pod-like pancake and the residual heat completes the cooking.

Despite the simple recipe, the resulting snack is addictively light, sweet and fragrant – one of the most popular desserts in Luang Prabang.

BONUS: Or Lam

Image Credit: tasting the world

Alright, Or Lam isn’t the most convenient food to eat as you walk through the market, but it’s easy to find in stores that sell this as a takeaway item, and that’s why I’ve added it as a bonus.

Arguably Luang Prabang’s most popular dish, this delicious stew is packed with meat, mushrooms, vegetables and native Lao herbs like lemongrass. The stew is tasty on its own, especially when it’s cooked with wood chips that add another level of spice to the dish.

The best way to enjoy this delicacy? Use your fingers, take a pinch of sticky rice and dunk it in the stew, using it to scoop up some of the ingredients. Don’t worry about the rice falling apart – the stew is so thick, your rice will maintain its shape.

Yes, these may not be your most glamorous food porn of immaculate cupcakes or galaxy glaze, but if there’s one thing this food adventure has taught me, it’s ‘taste first; comment later,’ More often than not, you’ll be too busy taking your second bite to comment.

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Chan U-Jane
Chan U-Jane

U-Jane is non-stop, a lover of all things Disney, and may or may not be slightly obsessed with musicals. When she's not off gallivanting, she's probably binge-watching some show on Netflix. That, or she's meticulously planning her next adventure.

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