Essential guide to the types of noodles in Laos
Lao cuisine uses a wide variety of noodles to make delicious dishes such as soups, salads or nems that can be eaten from breakfast to dinner. Flat or round, thin or thick, fresh or dry, rice or tapioca, here is the essential guide to the types of noodles
Khao Piek (wet rice, from rice and tapioca flours)
Khao Piek is a delicious fresh thick and round noodle - a bit similar to Japanese Udon - made with a mix of rice flour and tapioca flour. They are made in the morning and sold daily in fresh markets. The noodle strands are coated with starch to keep them from sticking.
The Khao Piak Soup is eaten for breakfast in Laos, it is a generous noodle soup bowl featuring pork or chicken, sometimes blood cubes or an egg. Fresh herbs and condiments added such as onion, morning glory, fried dried garlic and ground pepper makes it a very savory dish.
Khao Soy (hand-cut rice noodles from Luang Prabang)
The most recognized noodle soup from Luang Prabang, the khao soi - meaning literally cut rice - is also called sen niay - literally meaning large noodles.
The Luang Prabang Khao Soi includes pork and is topped by a sauce made with a mix of fermented soy bean paste, minced fatty pork, tomatoes and chilli. Traditional khao soi is often served with small bunches of watercress that bring a nice twist to the color and flavor.
Khao Poon (fermented rice vermicelli)
Khao Poon noodles - also known as bun in Vietnam - a type of thin and round fermented rice vermicelli.. The noodles are sticky and with a slightly soured aroma due to the fermentation.
The Khao Poon Soup is a very popular dish served during traditional celebrations in Laos, with a base of curry soup and pounded fish meat, topped by freashly cut beans, soi sprouts, lemongrass among other condiments. Khao Poon Noodles are also used as an ingredient in phan dishes (wraps), where guests prepare their bites by wrapping meat, herbs and sauces in rice paper or leaves wraps.
Lao Pho (rice noodles)
Pho noodles originates from Vietnam but have been widely adopted and customized by Lao culture. These noodles are thin and flat dry vermicelli that are added last minute to a pork broth.
The Lao Pho Soup has been largely localized from the Vietnamese version. Its pork broth is made by boiling pork bones for hours among other ingredients. The Lao Pho is served with pork, chicken, beef or meatballs, and comes with a bunch of fresh herbs, long beans, sprouts, lime and fresh chili on the side. Jeow and Kapi (fermented shrimp paste) are always on the table to dip in a long bean or chili.
Mee Luang (egg noodles)
Originating from China but very popular accross South East Asia, mee luang are extruded noodles with a thin round shape, made with wheat flour and eggs.
In Laos, Mee Luang soups are usually served from breakfast to lunch. They are made with a broth base and include roasted duck slices, braised pork meat or wonton.
Senlon (glass noodles)
Senlon is a common type of noodle found all around Asia. They are transparent dried noodles made from bean starch, and can be eaten in soups or salads.
In Laos, Senlon is most commonly used in Seen dart, which is a local version of Korean Barbecue that comes with a soup boiling around the sizzling meat, where are added tons of vegetables, eggs and senlon noodles.