An Isan/Laotian style larb ped (with duck) in Chiang Mai
Larb khua mu, a stir-fried northern Thai larb made with pork, in Chiang Mai
Larb (Lao: ລາບ; White Hmong: lab (laː˥); Thai: ลาบ, rtgs: lap[lâːp], also spelled laap, larp or lahb) is a type of Lao minced meat salad that is regarded as the national dish of Laos. It is also eaten in Isan, an area of Thailand where many people are of Laotian descent. Hmong people in Laos share the dish as well. Outside of Southeast Asia, larb is served in Lao, Thai, and Hmong communities in the U.S., France, and England. Local variants of larb also feature in the cuisines of the Tai peoples of Shan State, Burma, and Yunnan province, China. The word "larb", although now a cognate of the Laotian and Thai words for "luck", actually comes from a Lanna (Northern Thai) word meaning "to mince meat".
Phrik lap is the mix of dried spices used in northern Thai larb
The larb from northern Thailand - larb Lanna - is very different from the internationally more well-known Laotian and Isan style larb. The northern Thai larb of the Tai Yuan/Khon Mueang (Northern Thai people) does not contain fish sauce and is not sour, as neither lime juice nor any other souring agent is used. Instead, the northern Thai version uses an elaborate mix of dried spices as flavoring and seasoning which includes ingredients such as cumin, cloves, long pepper, star anise, prickly ash seeds and cinnamon amongst others, derived from the location of northern Thailand's Lanna Kingdom on one of the spice routes to China, in addition to ground dried chillies, and, in the case of larb made with pork or chicken, also the blood of the animal used. The dish can be eaten raw (larb dip), but also after it has been stir-fried for a short time (larb suk). If blood is omitted from the preparation of the stir-fried version, the dish is called larb khua. There is also a kind of larb called larb leut (Lao: ເລືອດ) or lu (Thai: ลู่). This dish is made with minced raw pork or beef, raw blood, kidney, fat and bile, and mixed with spices, crispy fried onions, fresh herbs and other ingredients. Larb and its other variations are served with an assortment of fresh vegetables and herbs, and eaten with glutinous rice. This version of larb is viewed as having originated in the town of Phrae, in northern Thailand. This style of "larb" can also be found in parts of northern Laos.
Nam tok (Lao: ນ້ຳຕົກ, Thai: น้ำตก) is a Lao and Thai word meaning waterfall. The name is derived either from the dripping of the meat juices during the grilling or from the juices running out of the medium rare beef as it is sliced. It refers to a popular Lao meat dish in both Laos and Isan, where it is commonly known as Ping Sin Nam Tok (Laos) or Nuea Yang Nam Tok (Thailand). This dish can be regarded as a variation on the standard larb, this dish is made from barbecued pork or beef, usually the neck, which is sliced to bite-size pieces. The meat is then brought to a boil with some stock, to create some sauce. The heat is turned off and then sliced shallots, ground roasted rice, chili powder, lime juice and fish sauce are added, along with shredded coriander leaves, spring onions and mint leaves.