(Photo by Mina)
If you had to pick one dish to represent Laos, then you probably would think laab. Sometimes spelled larb, this dish is composed of what can be regarded as the flavors of Laos. It is a minced meat dish, seasoned with fresh herbs like cilantro and mint, chilies, a squeeze of lime juice, some fish sauce and an assortment of vegetables, usually whatever is in season. It uses the uniqueness of ground toasted sticky rice powder, khao kua, and kaffir lime leaves to tie it all together.
Laab is traditionally eaten with sticky rice and vegetables. You can find many variations in other parts of Laos and Thailand, using raw meat or raw fish. As with any raw food, it is at your own risk! This dish is served for every gathering, special event, religious ceremonies, and weddings etc. Laab also means and represents blessings, prosperity and good luck!