Another great salad you see in all of the countries along the Mekong River is Green Papaya Salad. Certainly in beautiful Luang Prabang, Laos, you see this glorious salad everywhere.
Today, we feature Green Papaya Salad. Green or unripe papaya should not be underrated. The crunch factor gives it a fabulous texture that adds to the dish. And only 5 minutes to prepare.
But be warned, this salad does have a bit of a kick. The heat can be easily toned down by substituting the small red chilis with long red chilis and/or deseeding the chilis or omitting them altogether.
The salad is extremely refreshing and despite the heat of some of the individual ingredients it is a rather cooling salad.
We also continue our journey in Luang Prabang and feature some town-based restaurants where you can really discover how good underrated, Lao cuisine really is if you are fortunate enough to visit this beautiful town.
More Restaurants in Luang Prabang
Last week we featured fabulous chicken larb and featured a couple of restaurants across the bamboo bridge behind Luang Prabang. Today we are in the town proper. Here are 3 restaurants we really enjoyed and can heartily recommend.
The Apsara Restaurant is full of great Lao food. In a comfortable and somewhat elegant room, you will find such classics as chicken larb and the featured green papaya salad. Also expect fusion-style dishes where you might find fettuccine served with a sauce inspired by Lao ingredients. There is a nice mix of smaller and larger dishes.
Another restaurant we heartily recommend is the Blue Lagoon. Set in a magnificent garden, this restaurant features a number of Swiss-inspired dishes with a Lao flavour. The chef spent 10 years in Switzerland and the fusion with Lao ingredients is impressive. The prices are not cheap for Luang Prabang but the quality of food is high.
Well-trained staff and a great atmosphere make this a most enjoyable evening. If you are looking for a special meal then this would be my choice for a classy meal in Luang Prabang.
Roselle Fusion is yet another great choice to discover Lao cuisine in Luang Prabang. The restaurant is smallish but features a lovely riverside view and you can order international and/or Lao-style food. Roselle Fusion is fairly priced with good service. Again, larb features in this restaurant.
There are many other good restaurants and bars in Luang Prabang. The drink of choice is definitely beer and Beer Lao is our favorite in all of South East Asia. Cocktails are also very good value with most establishments featuring rather generous happy hours where you can enjoy 2 for 1 cocktails for extended periods of time, often during the peak evening hours.
We tended not to drink too much wine because it was expensive relative to beer and cocktails and the climate doesn’t really suit it. But that’s just my opinion and we certainly observed many tourists enjoying a wine.
Green Papaya Salad
The crunch of the green papaya is the highlight of this dish, not to mention those great South East Asian flavors!
You will find green papaya in any Asian supermarket. You can substitute with green mangoes or even cucumbers if you can’t find green papaya. De-seed the red chili and go for the longer varieties if you want a milder version.
More Dishes with Spice
If you are looking for some more warming dishes, then then here are a few to choose from:
Ema Datshi will surprise you. This cheese chili, national dish of Bhutan is quick, easy, and made from everyday ingredients.
Fish Amok is not well known in the West. This delightfully warm but creamy dish is true comfort food and the national dish of Cambodia.
If you enjoy your curries, here is an easy recipe for Green Curry Paste. It is the foundation for Chicken with Green Curry. You will find more Thai recipes here. including Thai Fish Cakes, made with the classic, Red Curry Paste.
Another, refreshing Asian salad is the Lao version of Chicken Larb. Those in the know claim it is the best of the Asian salads! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
- 2 red chili, short, Asian style Use long red chilis for a milder chili
- 1/2 cup beans, long or green beans
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 cups papaya, green peeled and shredded using a grater
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp
- 1 tomato sliced
- 2 tbsp peanuts roasted, crushed
- De-seed (or omit) the chilis if you want a milder taste. In a mortar and pestle, pound the chilis, long beans and garlic together until starting to break up.
- Add shredded papaya, fish sauce, palm sugar and lime juice. Continue to pound until the sugar dissolves.
- Place in a bowl and then add the dried shrimp, tomato and peanuts. Combine well. Lovely served with sticky rice and grilled chicken.
This is nice Mark!! Love a green papaya salad. Never tried adding beans to it though. Sounds interesting!
Beans are a surprisingly common ingredient in that part of the world.
These kind of simple salad are my favorite.
I love the crunch and the use of the fresh herbs and spices in this salad.
Such a healthy recipe. I love healthy food.
It is a healthy salad. We found food in Laos to be full of fresh flavors like these.
The best part of this salad is the crunchy green papaya! Love the colorful salad.
The crunch factor is a big part of the reason I like this dish. The flavors contrast well together.
What a fascinating travel experience. I have never been there before. This recipe is intriguing as it has flavors I have not had before but want to try.
The flavor in the salad will not leave you wondering. These sorts of salads are right throughout SE Asia and it is a big part of the reason to go to SE Asia.