Skip to Content

Recipe for Laotian buffalo laap

Recipe for Laotian buffalo laap

Laap is the national dish of Laos. It is a minced meat (or fish) salad, served with large amounts of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Like the recipe for Peruvian ceviche, the meat in a laap is traditionally raw and “cooks” in the large amount of lime juice used. A more farang (foreigner) friendly version involves the meat being cooked first.

Buffalo is a common and delicious meat base for laap. Any meat or fish can be used, but buffalo was our favourite: it is the tastiest we tried and very chewy.

For vegetarians, substitute buffalo meat with tofu, aubergines or mushrooms.

Laotian buffalo laap ingredients

Ingredients for Laotian buffalo laap


Ingredients for buffalo laap

  • 150g of buffalo minced meat
  • half teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh galangal finely chopped (similar to ginger, which is a good alternative to use)
  • 1 red chilli (more if you dare, less if you prefer less kick)
  • a handful of beansprouts (soaked briefly in hot water to soften)
  • 1 long bean or 5 chopped runner beans (uncooked but washed)
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • 4 saw tooth leaves if you have it (these are popular leaves in Southeast Asia, like coriander but stronger)
  • 1 small handful of finely sliced banana flower (optional – if you can find it)
  • 3 spring onions finely chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • a handful of chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted sticky rice powder (buy from local Chinese supermarket)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli powder
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass (white section) – use around 5 finely sliced pieces like this:
Stefan preparing the sliced lemongrass

Stefan preparing the sliced lemongrass for the buffalo laap


How to make buffalo laap

1. Lightly cook the buffalo meat in a pan, adding the salt and a tablespoon of fish sauce.

2, Remove the meat from the pan and place it into a deep mixing bowl and using your hands, mix in and combine all the other ingredients.

Stefan learning how to make Laotian buffalo laap

Stefan learning how to make Laotian buffalo laap on the streets of Vientiane

3. Arrange on a serving platter, garnish with green leafs and serve with sticky rice, a spicy jeow dish and washed down with a Beerlao or two.

Seb enjoying buffalo laap with sticky rice and a Beerlao

Seb enjoying buffalo laap with sticky rice, washed down with a Beerlao


You can read more about our experiences discovering food in Laos and watch our Laos travel video.


This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of these links, we will receive a small commission. Read our disclosure for more info.
Laotian aubergine jeow recipe
Recipe for Laotian aubergine jeow spicy dip
← Read Last Post
Laotian sticky rice recipe
Laotian sticky rice recipe
Read Next Post →

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.