Laotian cuisine offers essential regional variations depending on the fresh ingredients available in a particular place. It includes vegetables, fish, chicken, duck, beef, pork and water buffalo. The unique horse meat restaurant can also be found. The French also left their traces, especially in the capital Vientiane.
Laotian cuisine does not have international gastronomic fame. However, it has many characteristics and specialties that make it a relatively varied and original cuisine. It differs from those of the neighboring countries as it is influenced by Chinese cuisine, and by the abundance and variety of aromatic herbs used. Another characteristic is coconut oil is used as the only fat resource.
Being landlocked most fish eaten comes from the fresh waters of the country, and in the rural areas, many of the meats consumed come from the wild, rather than from domesticated animals. Some of these include wild pigs, deer, jungle fowl, squirrels pheasants, and other birds. In the villages, domesticated animals are eaten including ducks, chicken, pigs, and cattle. Foods are salted with the use of fermented anchovies, most of which is imported from Thailand. Flavorings are added and include mint, lemongrass, chilies, ginger, tamarind and lime juices, and the flesh or juice of coconuts.
Laos, as with its neighbors, is abundant with a beautiful array of tasty tropical fruits. All are seasonal, but there is never a problem with the choices available. Pomelo, durian, rambutan, grapes, bananas plums, apples, and dragon fruit are among the host of fruits available in this country. In season fruits are usually offered to diners at the completion of a meal as there are few desserts on a Laos menu.