Friday, April 29, 2011

Luang Prabrang Part 2: Going to Market

Food in Laos is a direct result of it being slap in the middle of Vietnam and Thailand. Very similar themes to pad thais, papaya salads and noodle phos, one unique distinction is sticky rice, rolled into a ball with hands, and dipped into soupy and spicy dishes. All those familiar flavours of chilli, lemongrass, garlic, lime and fragrant herbs won't surprise you, they will reignite your love for food from this region.

Aside from having gone on a rampage for all those favourites above, we visited the must-see food markets in the centre of town.

On the main Sisavangvong drag, there lies a huge temple which marks the start of the daily street market, serving up semi-touristy souvenirs with some authentic handicrafts and local wares. Get there in the morning though, and take a little side road to the left of the temple, up a narrow path to the morning market...

Sellers sit and squat on the pavements, laying out fresh produce on tattered mats, waving plastic bags attached to sticks to bat away the flies. I'm sweating unglamourously as I stop and stare at these lush ingredients.

Now I wouldn't want to get into a fight with these ladies at the egg stall, especially if they have good aim..

And amongst the familiar items, are the more exotic things. Here comes the purple version of that ubiquitous sticky rice. It's also eaten as a dessert when sweetened.

Something tells me those were Laos sundried tomatoes.

I noticed these fuchsia baskets on the ground, that were moving...

After some faux sign language with a toothless elderly local, we guessed they were tiny quails that could be bought to be freed. We couldn't quite work out the symbolism, and sadly were offered an inflated touristy price for the deed.

And of course, which Asian market would be complete without the downright strange. This vendor seemed to be selling what looked like assorted preserved hides. For eating. Even my Chinese computer says no.

Ah, the calm bliss of sitting still on the pavement and observing this old art of haggling for daily items. That's my kind of foodie morning.


Su-Lin said...

What an amazing market! The sticky rice is suck a glorious colour. Very curious about the "Cake flour Coconut"!

Hungry Female said...

I didn't get around to trying those unfortunately, given the long list of things to try! Sticky rice here is a little different from what I know, not as "wet" and long grained. The markets were my highlight:-)