Village Food in Laos - SPICY CHILI WOOD and AUTHENTIC KHMU FOOD in Luang Prabang! by Mark Wiens   1 year ago


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During our trip to Luang Prabang, one of my goals was to experience authentic Laos culture. So we set off on a 2 day excursion, into the mountains, not too far from Luang Prabang. The first day we’d spend learning about the Khmu culture and eating local authentic Khmu food. The next day, we’d move onto a Hmong village to eat Hmong food.

We met up with Alex and his team from White Elephant Adventures ( This is not sponsored, I paid in full for this tour, but Alex and his team were gracious to really set us up with a custom tour about food and culture. I highly recommend them for off the beaten path, authentic culture tours in Luang Prabang.

It wasn’t too long of a drive, and we stopped at a variety of markets along the way, but we eventually made it to the Khmu village. It happened to be the village of our guide. It was a gorgeous village, by the river. For lunch we had some simple bamboo shoot mixtures wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. Khmu mainly eat sticky rice.

After lunch we walked around, took a swim in the river, and just hung out, waiting for the dinner festivities.

We purposefully didn’t really make too much of a plan, because we wanted to just see what unfolded naturally at the village. They decided to butcher a small pig for the village and for the evening festivities. They also planned a baci ceremony - a Laos ceremony of blessing, which was an amazing experience and left me feeling so incredibly welcome.

Anyway, after the afternoon swim, the men got started butchering the pig and parting off each piece of meat - serious nose to tail dining - to the person who was designated to cook each different dish. What was amazing to me is that everyone in the community had a role, and each worked diligently for the greater community.

There were so many different local Khmu Lao foods being prepared that I could hardly keep up. But one of the most interesting dishes for me was the or lam, a well know Lao Khmu dish, but this version unlike anything I had tried before. One of the single most amazing ingredient is spicy chili wood - it’s actually a vine that grows in the jungle, and it is really spicy and makes your tongue tingle.
The baci ceremony was spectacular, the meal of all things pig with the community was special, and at the end of the night the children from the village sang us a couple of songs.

It was a fantastic day, delicious authentic and fresh Lao Khmu food, and an incredible time to learn about Khmu culture, and interact with the community.

Thank you for watching!

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