Khao Laam and Ping Kai: The Food of Champions

Published on October 11, 2014

Khao Laam and grilled chicken (Ping Kai) are championed as the staple foods at traditional festivals throughout Laos

Introduction: Khao Laam and grilled chicken known as Ping Kai are championed as the staple foods at traditional festivals throughout Laos and while there are many other delicious foods and sweets available in the minds of most people they can’t complete with Khao Laam and Ping Kai. Why is that? Our news team has the details.

Story: Khao Laam is a kind of sweet but also a staple food. It is made from sticky rice mixed with coconut milk, sugar, salt, black bean and taro. All the ingredients are mixed together and placed in a bamboo tube which is then cooked over a bed of hot coals. Many generations have passed down the recipes for the best Khao Laam, which has been a traditional Lao favourite for many years.

Lao people also like to sell Khao Laam and Ping Kai when there are festivals at the local or the national level. It can be found at many, many stalls lining the streets during events such as the That Luang Festival or the annual boat racing festivals in any of the provinces.

Early October is the end of Buddhist Lent. The end of Buddhist Lent is celebrated with many activities including the various boat racing festivals in local villages. Farmers also take this chance to sell their agricultural products to people who are feasting and celebrating.

Sticky rice is nutritious and aids digestion. Several different kinds of sticky rice are used to make foods, sweets and beverages and a few varies of sticky rice are used to make Khao Laam including black sticky rice and young sticky rice.

There are many kinds of food on the menu at festivals in Laos, including the boat racing festival in Vientiane but none are as ubiquitous as Khao Laam and Ping Kai. It is highly recommended that all festival goers indulge in at least one serving of Khao Laam andPing Kai, otherwise they cannot really say they have been. When they go back home after the festival is over, most Lao people will buy Khao Laam and Ping Kai to take home with them.

Meanwhile at the festival you will see many people carrying Khao Laam and Ping Kai as they make their way around. It is an essential accompaniment.

Before the start of big festivals such as the Boat Racing Festival or the That Luang Festival in December you will see local people sellingKhao Laam and Ping Kai along the major roads leading to the festival sites. That is how you know festival season has begun so what better time to tuck into what has long been thought of as the food of champions.

Source: Lao National Television News in English
Broadcast on October 08, 2014