#71: Laos – Larb

When I visited Thailand in 2012 I effectively “dipped by toe” into part of Laos during a tour north of Chiang Mai. So while I never ate Laotian food in Laos, I believe the spicier food of northern Thailand played a big influence (or vice versa). I was lucky to live next door to a phenomenal Laotian restaurant (Thip Khao) in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington, D.C. One of my favorite dishes there was the Nam Khao but a close second was their variations on larb. They made larb with a number of meats from chicken liver to pig parts. They were wonderfully herby had so much going on between spice and richness of color.

I could have chosen many dishes to make from this tiny country but I’ve been looking for some simple meals for the past week or two while life and work was growing more complex. Larb seemed to fit the bill. Larb can pack a punch with a small number of ingredients, but ingredients when used together (I’m looking at you, fish sauce and lime juice) achieves optimal umami on your taste buds. The ground pork I worked with didn’t quite brown in the way I’ve seen this made in restaurants but that’s probably because I cooked in a very small amount of oil at a lower heat.

Here’s the recipe I used: https://thewoksoflife.com/pork-larb/. I also made these Asian-style Brussel Sprouts and they were awesome: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/crispy-asian-brussel-sprouts (I suggest cutting the sauce by about half).

Overall Level of Effort: 1

Skill Level: Beginner

Would Make It Again? Yes

Additional Notes: At first I was a little disappointed with this as it didn’t LOOK all that exciting. But as I kept eating it the fresh herbs and umami flavors made my mouth tingle and crave more. That sensation is one of the reasons I love love LOVE food from this region of the world and I look forward to making many more in the coming months.

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