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Fast food – Lao style

When we were in Laos we saw all sorts of interesting snack foods and nothing like what you see people munching on in the street back at home.

These intrigued me:


They’re actually lotus flower pods and you break them apart to eat the pea/edamame tasting interior beans (seeds?):


Lots of snack food is served on sticks:


Lao-style donuts, all soft and gooey on the inside:


Some are less appetising (at least for my Western palate!):



This is chicken, apparently.


This is deep fried buffalo skin – quite a common snack in Laos.

On the ferry to and from Champasak, we saw these ladies:


and up close:


Yup. Crickets! These were much more gruesome looking than the deep-fried insects at Khop Chai Deu in Vientiane.

Many snacks revolve around rice, obviously:


Sticky rice in banana leaves


Sticky rice and mashed banana in banana leaves, served by the most charming hostess ever, Noy:


Perhaps the most ingenious snack food we saw was also being served on the ferry – makeshift takeaway noodle stands:


First, you take a small plastic bag and you fill it with broth:


Then you take another bag and start adding the other ingredients:



The greens – bean shoots and vegetables.


and the noodles:


And voilà – dinner is made!

A snack that was not so exotic but just perfect for the time and place was this:


Jasmine tea and banana. Served to me on a chaise longue after a 90 minute coconut body scrub and coconut oil hair treatment at the Champasak Spa (all for $12!!! – highly recommend it!). I was so happy right at that moment:


Obviously! (excuse the bad hair – it was still having its treatment…)

Check out tomorrow’s post for a special step by step guide to one of the yummier Lao snacks (no, it’s not the crickets!!!)

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23 Responses to Fast food – Lao style

  1. Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 2, 2009 at 11:51 #

    Ahh, looks like the perfect place to practice for eating challenges on the Amazing Race! Wouldn't mind some of that sticky rice and banana..mmmm.

  2. Fresh Local and Best October 2, 2009 at 12:30 #

    This post is so interesting! Thanks for sharing! I especially thought the photo of the little girl, Noy, was uber-cute!

  3. eatlivetravelwrite October 2, 2009 at 13:18 #

    Conor – what a great idea! Yes the sticky rice and banana was wonderful!

    Fresh Local – we loved Noy too – she spent about 30 minutes with us "chatting" in pidgin English. So fun!

  4. TasteHongKong October 2, 2009 at 15:35 #

    No problem, it is good to see bizarre foods.

  5. high low October 2, 2009 at 16:15 #

    I've never seen those lotus seeds before – very interesting!

  6. Xander October 2, 2009 at 16:44 #

    Great Lao food round up– makes me really want to go back (although maybe it's the $12 spa treatment that actually sounds so good…). Those lotuses are so beautiful, especially when gathered in big basketfuls. I saw them all over Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, yet somehow I never actually tried them– I guess it's good to save something for future visits? -X

  7. Jessie October 2, 2009 at 17:11 #

    wow very interesting list of snacks!

  8. Tasty Eats At Home October 2, 2009 at 18:02 #

    Not the first time I've seen crickets on a stick! Although I can't say I'd have the courage to eat them! Those donuts look good though!

  9. eatlivetravelwrite October 2, 2009 at 20:32 #

    Taste Hong Kong – the more bizarre the better the picture, right?

    high/low – aren't they cool?

    Xander – definitely and thanks!

    Tasty Eats – We saw some Western people eating them and they were not looking too impressed!

    Jessie – thanks

  10. Chow and Chatter October 2, 2009 at 21:16 #

    you are so cute, they put coconut oil on their hair in India as well, cool foods not for me the crickets anyways !

  11. NMOS October 3, 2009 at 03:56 #

    You're lucky to be able to experience something like that. I've never really traveled internationally, so I'm looking forward to checking out those Asian countries sometime. I see the street/market food on the Travel channel all the time. Some of that looks delicious, while some others look….interesting. I'd still try it all though.

  12. Amanda October 3, 2009 at 04:17 #

    Fantastic photos!

    I'd be tempted to eat the cricket for a small sum of money and a large gallon of anything alcoholic.

  13. Divina Pe October 3, 2009 at 07:48 #

    Wow, more interesting stuffs including the cricket. How long did you stay in Laos??

  14. eatlivetravelwrite October 3, 2009 at 13:08 #

    Chow and Chatter – thanks – I loved the feel of my hair after that treatment!

    NMOS – Yes, I know I am incredibly lucky.

    Amanda – LOL!

    Divina – We were there for two weeks (errr… and 1800 pictures! There are more to come!)

  15. penny aka jeroxie October 4, 2009 at 04:10 #

    The flower pods looks interesting but the chicken looks suspicious :P

  16. TasteHongKong October 4, 2009 at 04:17 #

    Well, maybe better to see than to taste :).

  17. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 4, 2009 at 13:38 #

    Penny – yes, suspicious all right! I didn't try that one!

    Taste – some of the things, yes!

  18. Liz Marr, MS, RD October 4, 2009 at 19:22 #

    Thanks for sharing. Fascinating!

  19. Table Talk October 5, 2009 at 00:10 #

    The lotus pods/seeds are new for me–so pretty. I don't know about the fried buffalo skin though…

  20. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 5, 2009 at 01:59 #

    Liz – thanks for looking!

    Table Talk – errr, yes the buffalo skin was not the nicest looking OR tasting…. (I though it might be like pork crackling but alas, not!)

  21. Neil C. Phillips October 6, 2009 at 11:18 #

    Can I just say that Mardi did not mention it took me to be the catalyst for this street food experience, much of the time? Well, insomuch as tasting.

    Whilst Mardi was happy snapping, I wanted to nibble. (Or was coaxed by said blogger who snapped: "Go try some so I can get a picture…")

    If I pronounced it yummy (like the lotus pods or steamed banana with sticky rice), suddenly there was a flurry of activity.

  22. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 6, 2009 at 15:40 #

    It's called taking one for the blog, Neil!

  23. The Best Family October 19, 2009 at 21:23 #

    ordinarily i would say you can't go wrong with a snack on a stick, but those crickets. ahem. i might have to rethink that theory. your coconut scrub and hair treatment sounds so lovely . . .

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