The Lao Sandwich called Khao Jee

If colonization did bring questionable results many times through the history of mankind, this also created interesting cultural fusions. An exciting one is obviously about food. The French did colonize a few countries in Southeast-Asia and they obviously brought their cuisine with them. When they left, some of it stayed behind. 

They left their iconic baguette behind. These days, you can still find freshly baked baguettes in the old French Indochina countries and I am not talking about these hipster bakeries. I talk about these unsuspected shop houses that could be selling noodle soups or rice dishes, but they are baking bread.

While in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, I inquired about the best “Lao Style” sandwich to my local friends and got directed towards the Dong Palan roundabout.

With a friend, I jumped on my rented scooter and headed towards this little piece of information. Right in the roundabout, I found a shop selling the famous sandwich locally named “Khao Jee Pate”. After ordering two of their sandwiches, the old man yelled at his wife to come out of the house and prepare the food.

The man took two baguettes and put them on a grill to achieve maximum crispiness while the woman was preparing some vegetables. And then, she opened a big cooler holding all the main ingredients.

Once the baguette was toasted enough, the women sliced open the bread and spread a few pieces of Vache Qui Rit (The Laughing Cow), this well-known French processed cheese. Then she added some homemade mayo.  

What follows is the highlight of the sandwich. The Pâté. She spread generous amounts of liver pâté in the baguette. She certified to me that she made it herself and she looked very serious about it. As the name suggest, Khao Jee Pate include the delicious liver spread, but you can order without it.

Then came the spicy sauce, some cilantro leaves and cucumber slices followed by unripe papaya slices, the same kind you find in papaya salad. 

Time for the meat now! The cooler has three trays of meat that will be generously stuffed in the baguette. We got flat slices of Vietnamese Sausages, a pork sausage seasoned with pepper. We got also thin slices of probably the same sausage, but this one visibly had chunks of fat and cartilage. 

The sandwich was a monster in the making. Thin slices of fatty “moo daeng” or Lao charsiu were added to the party before adding even more cilantro on top, why not?

The Khao Jee got moved back to the counter before topping it with loads of pork floss. And we are DONE! The man pulled out a table with some chairs and invited us to eat it in the shop as he could read our minds that we were very hungry.

We sat down and enjoyed this delicious sandwich. The bread is fluffy while the crust was a crispy and delicious mess. While the pork meat has a light taste, the liver pâté to stole the show! Mix in some bites with cheese and you get the pinnacle of fusion food! The spicy sauce is also sweet and the cilantro gives a great freshness to the whole sandwich.

These sandwiches were bigger than the regular Khao Jee you see elsewhere in Vientiane. The price, at 20,000 kips (2,30$US) is a bit more expensive too, take into consideration that cheese is charged as an extra too. This Vietnamese couple running shop who migrated to Laos some 25 years ago is genuinely friendly. Despite the language barrier, we spent a great time communicating together.

You can find the shop on the map below. I pinned a nearby Bank as the shop is not on Google Map. It is on the west side of the roundabout. Look for the stand displaying baguette with a big blue cooler behind.

A little secret… A few days later, I got to realize this shop wasn’t the one I got recommended in the first place 🙂 

Read more

Amazing time in Bueng Khan (เที่ยวบึงกาฬ)!

My trip in Bueng Khan started in a delicious grilled chicken stand in Pak Kad District (ปากคาด) before continuing my way riding along the beautiful Mekong.   Wat Ahong Silawas (วัดอาฮงศิลาวาส) My next stop would be Wat Ahong Silawas (วัดอาฮงศิลาวาส), which is a very...

Visiting Ubon Ratchatani VLOG!

Ubon Ratchatani is a Thai province bordering Laos and Cambodia in the extreme east of the country. Scroll down for the video. Nong Yamah Grasslands (หนองหญ้าม้า) I start the video by riding to the Nong Yamah grassland, a huge field filled with tiny with flowers. Nice...

Lopburi’s sunflowers, mountains… and monkeys VLOG!

Lopburi (ลพบุรี) is known for their monkeys, but did you know about the sunflower fields (ทุ่งทานตะวัน)? What about this 3970 steps Temple (วัดเขาวงพระจันทร์)? Scroll down to see the video! Sunflower Fields December is the best time of the year to go check out the...