Northeastern Pork Salad

Laap (larb, laab) is a Northeastern (Issan) and Lao dish which, like som tum, is popular all over the country. It usually consists of cooked ground meat which is tossed with lime juice, chili powder, fish sauce & toasted rice powder, along with long coriander and mint.



  1. Toast the raw rice for a few minutes on medium-high until golden brown. Keep flipping them every few seconds so they don’t burn.
  2. Pound the toasted rice in a stone mortar and pestle until powdered (see pic).
  3. Toast the chili powder for a minute or two on medium-high until slightly darker and fragrant. Stir constantly. This can be quite dangerous if left forgotten on the stove — the smoke which is produced is quite spicy and can hurt your nose & lungs if left for too long!
  4. Boil the water in a saucepan and add the pork. Break apart and stir very gently until it’s cooked through. Strain and add to a bowl. Let it cool to slightly warm or room temperature.
  5. Slice the shallots into thin rounds. Slice the scallions into 1/2″ (2cm) long pieces. Cut the long coriander into tiny pieces. Tear off the leaves of the mint and wash well. Set aside.
  6. Add the chili powder, sugar, lime juice, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, mint, scallions, shallots and long coriander to the bowl. Stir well.
  7. Serve with a wedge or Chinese cabbage. You can top with small dried chilies too, if you want.


Really do be careful with the toasting of chili powder. Once Jett and I were cooking and we left it on the oven for about 2 minutes un-attended. We came back and moved the pan out of the way, and a puff of black smoke came out which was so toxic it hurt my eyes, lungs, nose, everything. We had to leave the room until it aired out. Even the cats ran away.

Laap can be eaten warm or room temperature, but should be eaten right away otherwise it won't taste good.

If you cannot find :long coriander:, you can substitute with regular :coriander:



Toast the raw rice in a dry wok until golden


Pound the rice until roughly powdered


Toast the chili powder until fragrant


Prepare all your ingredients


Cook the pork with the water


Mix all the ingredients together

15 thoughts on “Northeastern Pork Salad

  1. nice recipe

    When i was in thailand we ate laab ped a lot but it was made slightly differently to laab moo/gai/nuua.

    It was fried with garlic and tasted great, if you know how to make this and could put the recipe on here that would be awesome!

  2. This is such a wonderful website with beautiful pictures. I’m cambodian and I love thai food. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes!!! I’m so excited to start cooking some of the stuff on here, starting with laap.

  3. Can´t stop eating this stuff tastes so good, but beware very very spicy, like burning and water does not stop the burn ongly good beer.

  4. Great recipe.

    This has got to be my all time favourite Thai dish. I remember eating it in Thailand with my mouth on fire unable to stop as it tasted so good.


  5. Great recipe!

    Are you sure there shouldn’t be more chili, though?

    All the other recipes from Real Thai Recipes that I tried so far were *really* spicy for my taste (especially the Som Tam – up to 10 small thai chilies for one serving, are you insane??? ;-), but I tried this Laap recipe yesterday and didn’t find it spicy at all.

    Is it possible that the dried chili powder I bought from my local Asia store isn’t as spicy as it should be?
    (The wrapper says it’s from the UK not from Thailand, but it was the only variety of dried chili the Asia store had in stock.)

    Is it possible to manually dry fresh thai chilies?

    1. 1 tsp if chili powder is a lot – if it is not spicy for you, you must not be using the correct chili powder. Try a Thai brand if you can find it. It is possible to manually dry the chilies, best done in the summer sun.

        1. If you click on the chili powder in the ingredients list above, you’ll see a photograph of the type of chili powder used in the recipe.

    2. The Laap I had in both Thailand and Lao (I refuse to use the ‘s’) were not that spicy and certainly no where near as spicy as any of the Som Tam I had there. But you can always season to taste.

  6. Oh, and another question: The Asia store didn’t have mint, so I did the recipe without it.

    Today I found that one of the local supermarkets near me has fresh peppermint leaves, could that be used or is it a different kind of mint?

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