Lao markets, come and take a walk

Sabaidee! It means hello in Lao. Join me for a walk through the colorful morning markets of Laos. The first great thing about buying a few ingredients at such market for a foreigner is that it will make you feel like… a millionaire! 100€ are worth more than a million Laotian Kip so don´t be too surprised when you go to an ATM and by seeing so many zeros you feel like you are withdrawing your entire life savings…Rice-noodlesWhen visiting a country if time allows, having a look at a food market is always very interesting to learn about some habits but also of course it is very rewarding for the senses. What strikes first in a Lao market is a visually stimulating experience. Colorful without a doubt, the products offered are incredibly fresh, looking their best and presented in a clean way. The stalls have their goods displayed neatly and though the price is not clearly posted the interaction is very easy and pleasant with Lao people.Fresh-meat-at-the-crowdy-morning-marketLike many markets of south East Asia what you can see are extremely fresh ingredients: pork, beef or chicken meat from recently slaughtered animals and locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs that were picked from the field few hours ago. My father used to tell me all the time: “lao people eat everything!”. Indeed, expect to also see many different types of live and cooked insects at the market. Lao cuisine is distinct from other Southeast Asian cuisines.Recently-picked-mushroomsThe Lao come from higher up north from a region that is now part of China and they developed affection for fresh vegetables and herbs, which appear in almost every Lao meal. Meat and fish are usually grilled or steamed and as a result, the flavors are fresh and the dishes are low in fat. This explains why at the market you will always see large quantities of fresh raw greens. Galangal roots and aromatics herbs such as mint and dill, which are barely used in the neighboring countries, are widely available as well. Some other products will remain similar to what can be found in this part of Asia: bright red chilies, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, kaffir limes, etc.Cooked-insectsNot sure what to do in the evening in Laos? Take a walk through the night market this time! The incredible scents of the stalls selling sizzling meat, bowls of noodles soups, grilled meatballs will definitely open your appetite, but that’s another story…

Photo: Emilie Mounsaveng


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