Credit Photo: Lao-LuangPrabang Restaurant
Where can we see river weed or Crispy Mekong River Weed? What is “river weed”?
Did you see this below product in local Market Laos? It is similar to seaweed, but it is born from the river. I am not sure that I can call Crispy Mekong River Weed? Or “Khai Pan ໄຄແຜ່ນ” in Lao.
This kind of food normally you will see in the north of Lao, Especially Luangprabang Market, and this is local food, the local people like to buy it as a souvenir from northern to give to their families, friends, and neighbor. Anyway, you can see and buy it in every market in Laos.
How to produce this River weed
Do you wonder that what River weed is processing! Would you like to know? The River weed is underwater, this weed growing up in the flowing River such as Kharn, Ou, Numbark Mekong River… etc., There have 3 types of weeds, and this weed always grows up in cool areas such as northern of Lao, if temperature cools down this weed also more grown-up. People will find this weed at the stone, sand, muddy area and shallow water. Its appearance is green with a small line long which looks like women’s hair.
“Khai” will not rise in waterlogging or dirty water sources. It prefers to grow up in a group along the Stream where fresh water flows all the time and is clean.
- 1) The delicious (first qualities) weed starts to harvest from November to April this weed in Lao name is “Kaiy Muen” or “Kaiy Fong” the soft leave and green color grown up in the water flow area.
- 2) The second is quite sticky in Lao name is “Horn Kai” or “Meow” – weed starts to harvest from December to May
- 3) The third is coarse and does not delicious and this not famous to cook, the best time for harvest is from December to May.
After harvest, they have to make it clean by cleaning water, wash river weeds and make sure all clean, dry until without any water.
How to cook river weed?
The local people can make a portion of yummy food, such as a little water soup (Call “Or ເອາະ” in Lao, “Morp ໝົກ”( put in the banana leaves with the local wisdom ) to make the product for sale and they can earn for support their family by this weed.
“Or ເອາະ” is a one kind of Lao food’s name, it is similar soup. But, The “Or ເອາະ” doesn’t have much water with rice juice.
“Morp ໝົກ” is a Lao word also, for calling one kind of Lao food’s name. This food cooking uses the banana leaves for covering. It is a local food style and their various food like this. Which is one of the local wisdom?
“Khai Yi ໄຄຍີ or Khai Bod ໄຄບົດ” is one kind of food which is made by dry Mekong river weed and ground , mixing with dry small shrimp, salt, garlic, not spicy. You can eat “Khai Yi” with rice also.
Step of cooking river weed:
Or you can fry the river weed by hot oil, which it is very easy. Everybody can cook it;
- First, you just use your scissors to cut Crispy Mekong River Weed as your convenient size. Normally, we like to cut as a square
- Preparation you hotly oil on a pan.
- Finally, you throw your crispy Mekong River Weed one by on the oil. When you see a bit different color, you should take it out immediately.
Be careful, if you fried it with too long time; the river weeds will become black color, burn and then you cannot eat them anymore. You can learn on how to cook with Nang Sisavan’s face book post as this Vedio’s how to cook crispy river weeds link
How to eat it?
Fried river weed is a very popular snack of Luang Prabang people. They would like to eat with a unique chili sauce “Chew Bong Meng Luang ແຈ່ວບອງເມືອງຫຼວງ”, with sticky rice. You should eat the fried river weed immediately with warmly after you cooked them; if you late eating cooked crispy river weed, it won’t be delicious and is not crispy.
How does “Khai Pan”’s taste? Who can eat it?
Which “Khai Pan” is the most popular snack of Lao, not spicy, because it doesn’t have any chili? Yes! It is tasty! Unsweetened, crispy. Khai Pan includes river weed, sprinkle with seeds sesame, and fried tomatoes, with a little salt. Everybody can eat river seeds; even through children with 3 years.
Tip: if you would like to buy Crispy Mekong River Weed, please make sure that you will get many sheets at a reasonable price. I’ve ever bought a package that has only 2 sheets, but the price is quite expensive; according to the seller put the paper inside the package. A package of Crispy Mekong River Weed should have at least a big 5 to 10 sheets. One more thing, you should buy from the trendy shop; please avoid uncleaned or Crispy Mekong River Weed with dust covering.
Where to eat fried river weed in Vientiane capital and Luang Prabang province
I would like to suggest you that Try eating fried river weed at any restaurant or street markets in town first if you like. Then you can ask the waiter/waitress where to buy it and you can buy it at the shop that he/she recommended.
More options, When you arrive in Vientiane Capital. If you would like to eat it, you can go to “Lao Luang Prabang Restaurant”. There are various menu of other traditional Luangprabang foods also;
Credit Photo: Lao-LuangPrabang Restaurant
This Restaurant Facebook name is “Lao-LuangPrabang Restaurant ຮ້ານອາຫານ ລາວ-ຫຼວງພະບາງ” or you can call to order as number +856305888835, they will deliver you if you are in Vientiane capital
Market to buy river weed in Vientiane:
– Talad Sao (Morning Market)
Open daily from 8:00 to 20:30
Location: Langxang Avenue, next to the central post office
– Thongkhamkham Market
Open daily from 6:00 to 20:30
Location: City center, next to BCEL
– Phonthong Savang Market
Open daily from 15:00 to 20:30
Location: Phonthong road, opposite the EDL office, and nearby Mittaphab hospital.
Or every market in Vientiane Capital
As this link: One of seller
You can order Lao Crispy Mekong River Weed or Chili sauce from everywhere in the world. More information you can contact +85620 55156290; or +8562055699085 (Whatapp)
In case that you are in Luang Prabang province, it is very easy to find everywhere, more information as following
Open daily from 5pm to about 10pm.
Along Sisavangvong Road from the Tourism office, near by the Royal Palace Museum
Morning Market (Talad Sao)
Open daily from 6:00 to 10:30
Location: behind Luang Prabang tourism office
Open daily from 8:30 to 17:30.
Location: under Phousi hill, right at the intersection of Kitsalat and Ratsavong Roads.
Pho Si Market
Open from 6:00 to 15:30.
Location: road to Kuang Si Waterfalls
Open from 6:00 to 18:00.
Location: on Highway 13, near Kiridara Hotel.
Two more food that you should eat with “Khai Pan” and I will explain as following.
Chili Sauce or Jaew Bong Luang Prabang in Lao
Do you like spicy tasty? Do you want to try it? Chili Sauce or Jaew in Lao is a very spicy sauce; it has many kinds of chilies sauce in Laos. Today, I explain about chilies sauce of Luang Prabang; it is highly seasoned with sugary, mixing with leathers, garlic, and other condiments as well. It is not too strong tasting food for Lao; it will be too spicy if you are foreigners, or you cannot eat hot foods. So, please avoid eating the chili sauce. Because you will have a stomachache.
Cooked Sticky Rice
Cooked Sticky Rice is daily food for Lao, it is the most important foods for Lao each meal. Lao can’t miss to have this every eating. We like to eat sticky rice with chili sauce; do you want to know how Lao eat cooked sticky rice? Yes, we like to use our washed hands pulling up from sticky rice’s basket, molding to be small circle. After that taking into chili sauce and move to mouth. Lao doesn’t take spoon to pull the sticky rice, except normal rice and other foods, we use spoon, fork, and chop sticks as well.
If you would like to order online, you can search on Facebook as Lao word “ໄຄແຜ່ນ”. Then you can see many local Sellers’s pho to and contact number. They show the product’s photos with price. Finally, you can call to order and send to you at hotel.