Eat bugs like a local at Blue Lagoon, Luang Prabang, Laos
Blue Lagoon Restaurant, Laos - Restaurant Review
Cuisine: Authentic Laos
Location: Luang Prabang, Laos
Style Points: 4/5
Beetles, caterpillars, crickets, and more. The Western world may continue to shy away from it, but insects, otherwise known as creepy crawlies, are consumed by over 2 billion people in over 80 countries around the world. Insects are also PACKED with protein and are seen as a serious solution for world hunger and to feed a growing population without further harming the environment through inefficient food production.
Laos has a long history of insect consumption and the Blue Lagoon in Luang Prabang is a restaurant that is determined to show travellers to the UNESCO world heritage site that insects can be tasty as well as nutritious. The restaurant serves numerous Western dishes but if you’re feeling adventurous or just want to see why insects are eaten by so many people around the world then you should definitely make a stop here.
The restaurant itself has been open for over 16 years and the Executive Chef, Chef Samsack, trained and worked all over Europe but decided to go back to his roots to showcase the traditional cuisine of his homeland to the growing number of tourists arriving in area every year.
We decided to try a couple of dishes from the Insect Menu to start and tried the Black Ant Egg Coconut Soup and the Cricket Wrap. The soup was delicious and the overwhelming taste was that of sweet coconut. The ant eggs didn’t really have a taste as such but they had a texture similar to that of nigella seeds or sesame seeds. If you didn’t know you were eating ant eggs then you would none the wiser.
The cricket wrap was essentially a DIY spring roll with a selection of green leaves and various fresh toppings including peanuts, rice noodles, tamarind dip, pickles, tomatoes, and of course, fried crickets. I tried the cricket on its own to begin with and the verdict was...delicious! Much to my surprise, the cricket was nutty and fluffy inside once you bite into them and I genuinely could see myself eating like them instead of crisps as an alternative snack. The taste is quite peanutty and once you get past the visual appearance you find that the taste is similar and not altogether a shock or surprise of any kind. Eating it with the green leaves and toppings was also very nice and the dish was actually quite filling.
I recommend giving the cricket wrap a go, it may forever change your perceptions of insects and of what food actually is.
After our insect starters, we tried ‘Soo Moo Ka Ti’ and ‘Kaeng Pii Sai Pet.’ The former is fermented pork cooked in coconut milk with galangal, banana flowers, tomatoes, star fruit, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. The flavour of pork changes completely when its fermented and the overwhelming taste is sour. It’s not for everyone and I found it a little too sour for my liking but the rest of the dish had nice flavours coming from the strong galangal and fragrant lemongrass.
Kaeng Pii Sai Pet is pieces of duck in coconut milk cooked with banana flowers, star fruits, sweet potatoes, chili and ginger. The dish looked similar in appearance to the pork dish but this is where the similarities end. The flavour was a mix of coconut and lemongrass with a little sour note coming from the star fruit. It isn’t your usual duck dish and certainly a traditional Lao dish that is worth a try if you wish to see how duck is enjoyed in this part of the world.
The Cricket Wrap was 61,000 Lao Kip (£5.50/$7), Black Ant Egg Soup was 46,000 Kip (around £4 /$5), Soo Moo Ka Ti was 85,000 Kip (around £7.80/$10) and the Kaeng Pii Sai Pet was 85,000 Kip (around £7.80/$10.)
Considering the types of dishes that you get to try this is quite reasonable.
The food and service at the restaurant was very good at Blue Lagoon and it is certainly a dining experience that I won’t forget in a hurry. Chef Samsack is an extremely talented chef who makes insects palatable to the delicate taste buds of Western tourists and he definitely showed me insects is a much more positive light. I would recommend this restaurant to everyone who passes through Luang Prabang so they can experience for themselves the taste of things to come in the future, perhaps.
Find out more about Blue Lagoon and book your table.
Address: Blue Lagoon Restaurant, Ounheun Rd, Luang Prabang, Laos
Special thanks to Blue Lagoon and Chef Samsack for their hospitality!