We spend so much time eating Fer and Khao Soy in Laos that we thought it was worth a mention. They are both versions of local rice-noodle soup, Fer is more breakfasty and Khao Soy has fermented peanuts in it – which is sometimes mixed with pork and which means that when the vendor has no english at all we prefer to get Fer (which is maybe slightly yummier anyway and has tomatoes in it as a bonus).
So, you are given a bowl of steaming hot broth which has fresh rice noodles that have been cooked for about 10 seconds, and fresh green vegetables that have also been cooked about 10 seconds and on the table you have about 6 sauces, fresh green vegetables, fresh lime, shrimp paste, fresh, dried and fermented chilli, salt, sugar and msg. (Yes, they actually have containers of pure msg you can add!) You then proceed to concoct a soup to your liking, and the traditional way is to add a bit of every sauce, condiment and vegetable. So we usually pack it full with the veges as soon as it’s served so that they boiling water will sterilise them, and add lots of chilli for added stomach disinfectant (works quite well!). In addition dunk your spoon and chopsticks in the boiling water to clean them before you eat. By the time all the veges have cooked the soup is cool enough to eat. We have eaten Fer and Khao Soy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and recently went a couple of days without it and missed it so much that we had to walk for ages in the heat to find a Fer vendor. Yum yum. For our photos of the morning market where we eat our Fer, click here.