Credit Photo: Lao-LuangPrabang Restaurant
Where can we get river weed or Crispy Mekong River Weed? What is “river weed”?
Do you see the product below in the local market Laos? It is similar to seaweed, but it is grown from the river. I am not sure whether I can call Crispy Mekong River Weed, but I confirmed that we call “Khai Pan ໄຄແຜ່ນ” in Lao.
This kind of food, you will normally see in the north of Laos, Especially at Luangprabang Market. This is local food, and local people like to buy it as a souvenir from northern to give to their families, friends, and neighbors. So, don’t worry where you will get this river weed. You can find them in every market in Laos.
How to produce this River weed
Do you wonder how the River weed is processed! Would you like to know about how it is done? The River weed is grown underwater. This weed grows up in the flowing River such as Kharn, Ou, Numbark Mekong River in Luang Prabang province… etc., there are 3 types of weeds. These weeds always grow up in cool areas such as northern Laos. If the temperature cools down, these weeds grow more quickly. People can find these weeds at the stone, sand, muddy area and shallow waters. Their appearance is green with a small line long which looks like women’s hair.
1) The first quality and the most delicious of the weed is harvested from November to April. This weed in Lao, it is called “Kaiy Muen” or “Kaiy Fong” the soft leave and green color grow up in the flowing water area.
2) The second weed is quite sticky. In Lao, it is called “Horn Kai” or “Meow” – the harvest of this weed begins from December to May.
3) the third weed is coarse and does not taste delicious. It is not famous to cook. The best time for harvest is from December to May.
After the harvest, the weeds are washed and cleaned thoroughly and dried until without any water.
“Khai” will not rise in waterlogging or dirty water sources. It prefers to grow up in a group along the streams of fresh flowing water all the time and is clean.
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 to support their family.
“Or ເອາະ” is one of a kind of Lao food’s name, it is similar soup. But, The “Or ເອາະ” doesn’t have much water with rice juice. I will you later further articles about Lao Foods.
“Morp ໝົກ” is a Lao word also, for calling one of a 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 of a 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.
Credit Photo: Khai Yi Credit Photo: Facebook of Piya Hathsady
Step of cooking river weed:
It is very easy. Anybody can cook it. You can fry with oil;
• First, you just use your scissors to cut Crispy Mekong River weeds according to your own convenient sizes. Normally, we like to cut into square pieces.
• Pour some oil in the pan and burn it until it is hot.
• Finally, you throw your crispy Mekong River weeds one by one into the oil. As soon as you see that the color of the weeds changes, immediately take them out.
Be careful, if you fry it for too long, the river weeds will become black IN color. it will burn and you cannot eat them anymore. You can learn on how to cook with Nang Sisavan’s Facebook 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 when it is warm; if you would like to keep it away and eat it later, it won’t be delicious and won’t be 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 3 years old children can eat.
Tip: How to buy Mekong River Weed
if you would like to buy Crispy Mekong River Weed, please make sure that you 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 5 to 10 big sheets. One more thing, you should buy from the trendy shop; please avoid uncleansed or Crispy Mekong River Weed with dust covering them.
Where to eat/to buy fried river weed in Vientiane capital and Luang Prabang province.
I would like to suggest you that first, try eating fried river weed at any restaurant or street markets in town, and find out whether you would like it or not. Then you can ask the waiter/waitress where to buy it and you can buy it at the shop that he/she recommends.
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;
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.
Credit Photo: Lao-LuangPrabang Restaurant
Market to buy river weed in Vientiane:
– Talad Sao (Morning Market) Or Kuadi market (Next to 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 6:00 to 20:30
Location: Phonthong road, Savang village, Chathabouly district, next to Butterfly office.
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 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 Laos.
Do you like spicy taste? 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 would like to 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 a very tasty 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.
Credit Photo: Facebook of NoySomphit Hommany
Cooked Sticky Rice
Cooked Sticky Rice is a daily food for Lao, it is the most important food for Lao meals daily. Lao can’t miss to have this every meal. 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 smaller circles. After that dip it into chili sauce and put them into our mouth. Lao people don’t use a spoon or fork 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’ photo and contact number. They show the product’s photos with a price. Finally, you can call to order and send it to you at the hotel.