At a restaurant overlooking Nam Ngum Lake in Laos, we sampled the local dishes, and were not disappointed.
Nam Ngum Lake fish: A fresh water fish that was probably caught that morning. I can confirm that the taste supported this. Otherwise, I was surprised by how familiar the flavours were. This Laotian dish used many of the same ingredients used for the typical southern Chinese white fish.
North Americans would probably look at this Laotian dish, and focus on the impressive array of mushrooms. However, the broccoli is worth noting, because it is a pricier ingredient in Asia than in North America. Hence, the reason why the dish is heavy on the fresh mushrooms and skimpy on the broccoli. For me, this was a positive.
Larb is a dish from Laos consisting of minced meat salad treated with various spices. It can be a flavour explosion of spiciness so accompaniment with rice is a must.
Beerlao is a beer widely available in Laos, but rarely outside the country. Usually served with ice, it is quite refreshing, but still tasty. I enjoyed this bottle on a Nam Ngum River barge, which was as good as it sounds.