Spicy Laotian Beef Salad (Lab or Larb): Bold Flavors of Laos

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Spicy Laotian Beef Salad (Lab or Larb): Bold Flavors of Laos
Spicy Laotian Beef Salad (Lab or Larb): Bold Flavors of Laos

What is larb?

Larb is special cuisine in Luang Prabang can be made with chicken, beef, duck, fish, pork or mushrooms. The meat is flavored with lime juice, fish sauce, and fresh herbs. It is usually served with raw vegetables and sticky rice.

Larb
Larb

>>Ping Gai ai??i?? Laotian Grilled Chicken

Much of Laosai??i?? culinary culture seems to take place outside. Everywhere you go things are being boiled, stewed and sizzled in outdoor stalls. A crepe maestro would be deftly rolling out the thinnest dough creation in the world over a giant pan (Franceai??i??s colonization of Laos has brought baguettes and European-style pastries into popular usage). Eating is also communal; in the street, you can see people sitting around a meal served at the ka toke, the traditional low circular platform made of rattan where all the courses are brought out and eaten together.

Laos cuisine

Laos cuisine is distinguished by its pungent, spicy notes; unlike its milder Vietnamese and Cambodian cousins, its generous use of chilli peppers brings a fiery basenote to most of its dishes. This quality brings it closer to the cuisine of neighboring Thailandai??i??Laosai??i?? onetime conqueror and arch-nemesis. In fact, most of the specialized ingredients for its dishes, such as fish sauce, can be bought in Thai food stores. However, Laos cooking is set apart by its generous usage of fresh herbs, especially those with a sharp tasteai??i??heaps of them fill the outdoor vegetable markets with a bracing fragrance. Galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime are widely used and, among the fruit, it is the acrid green papaya that is the main ingredient in the countryai??i??s most popular salad.

Spicy Laotian Beef Salad
Spicy Laotian Beef Salad

Meat is another one of the groundstones of Lao cuisine, as is seen in its most famous recipe, Lab (also spelled larb, laap, larp, laab), a celebratory dish that is commonly made to mark a housewarming, the birth of a baby or New Yearai??i??s. Beef rules the roost, so to speak, and is considered to form an especially satisfying contrast to the piquant taste of the herbs.