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No 60th birthday is complete without the semi-surprise family vacation! I truly had no idea where we were going until packing 4 days before our vacay. And what a surprise – I would have never guessed we were headed to Luang Prabang in Laos! And what a great time we had! 

Wat Xieng Thong Temple

Laos, officially known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country located in Southeast Asia. Laos is bordered by China to the north, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west, and Myanmar (Burma) to the northwest. The Mekong River forms a large part of its western boundary with Thailand. The population of Laos is primarily composed of ethnic Lao people, who have their own distinct language and culture. Buddhism is the predominant religion, and the country is home to many beautiful temples and monasteries.

The place where Barack Obama greeted people in the streets of Luang Prabang city

The town of Luang Prabang is small, and the province only has a population of 500,000. Luang Prabang is a captivating destination nestled in the lush mountains of northern Laos, where the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers converge. It is renowned for its well-preserved blend of traditional Laotian and European colonial architecture. The city’s streets are lined with golden-roofed temples, vibrant markets, and French colonial buildings, creating a unique atmosphere.

Luang Prabang is also a spiritual center where Buddhism permeates daily life. The most revered temple, Wat Xieng Thong, dazzles with its intricate carvings and mosaic-covered walls, while the peaceful atmosphere of Wat Mai Souvannapoumaram invites quiet contemplation.

Luang Prabang turned out to be a peaceful, serene place along the Mekong with over 32 Buddhist temples to explore and some fabulous food to experiment with (next post!) It was hot and sunny, just the right temperature for a water baby like me!

A beautiful sunset in Laos

Our journey through the night market in Luang Prabang led us to discover a treasure trove of culinary delights. Among the bustling markets and fragrant food stalls, we found dried bamboo chips, fried banana chips and hot bananas roasted on coals. Then we stumbled upon what soon became our favourite street food: Laotian peanuts infused with lemongrass, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves.

Roasted bananas on coal

The aroma of sizzling peanuts seasoned with lemongrass and garlic wafted through the air, enticing us to sample this flavorful snack. Each bite was a burst of savory goodness, complemented by the zesty aroma of kaffir lime leaves. 

As we indulged in these Laotian peanut delights, we couldn’t help but marvel at the fusion of flavors. The aromatic lemongrass and pungent garlic added depth to the earthy peanuts, while the fragrant kaffir lime leaves infused the nuts with a refreshing citrusy aroma. 

Want to try them at home? They are simple to make and great with coffee or a beer! Add some freshly pounded black pepper and some hot crushed chillies for more punch!

Laotian Lemongrass and Garlic Peanuts


  • 2 cups raw peanuts (about ½ kg)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only, finely chopped (about 2 pieces of 3 inches each)
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon whole black pepper, pounded in a mortar
  • ½ teaspoon crushed chilies or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


  • In a large skillet or heavy wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped lemongrass, minced garlic, and sliced kaffir lime leaves to the skillet. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Allow garlic to lightly brown.
  • Add the raw peanuts to the skillet and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 7-10 minutes until the peanuts are golden brown and crispy.
  • Once the peanuts are cooked, remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chilies to taste. Toss to combine.
  • Allow the peanuts to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy as a savory snack or as a delicious addition to salads and stir-fries.
  • Store in a tightly shut glass bottle.

Serves: 4. As a shared snack.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Critical Ingredients: For flavour, garlic and lemon grass are critical ( . If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves(, curry leaves taste great too! If you don’t have fresh kaffir lime leaves or fresh lemongrass(, we have provided links for our favourite dried versions.

Our culinary adventure in Luang Prabang opened our eyes to the unusual flavors and new ingredients. Recreating the food of this charming town, even just with peanuts, helps revisit the fond memories. Everyone, put Laos on your bucket list! ✈️🧳♥️

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