Laos – Ping Kai

by Fauzan Anandika

It already a couple of days after the new year, time to start working again after a long holiday. Speaking of the new year, two-way people are counting the day. One uses earth evolution orbiting the sun, known as the solar calendar that most countries use. The other one is the lunar calendar that counted the base of one lunar orbiting the earth. Different counting method will also create different date. Countries that use the lunar calendar celebrate their new year on a different date from those that use the solar calendar. 

Some countries in Southeast Asia use the lunar calendar that influences by Buddhism. The Laos where most of the citizen is a Buddhist also use the lunar calendar. Buddhism has a big influence on their tradition. That is shows in how they count the date and in their way of celebrating an event. One of the festivals is the Wat Phou festival, a festival held on the full moon in at third month of the lunar calendar. At that time is the time that they believe the Buddha already finish all his fundamental teaching. Wat Phou festival becomes the biggest festival in South Laos. People celebrating it for three full days with sound and light shows, processions, recitals, chanting, and most importantly, praying. 

As a tourist, to enjoy a festival won’t be complete without tasting the local food in the area. One of the recommended food to taste in Laos is Ping Kai. A grilled chicken seasoned with black pepper, coriander root, garlic, fish sauce, and salt. Ping Kai could easily found in many restaurants in Laos. It has a delicious taste and unique aroma that create from using charcoal for the grilling process. 

Cooking Ping Kai is easy since the ingredients can be found in the local store. But rest assured, it at least twice as good as your average chicken grilled.

Marinated Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon of pepper powder
  • 30 grams of coriander leaves
  • 15 ml of oysters sauce
  • 2 tablespoon of salty soy sauce
  • 10 ml of cooking oil
  • 5 red eyes chili
  • 2 kg of chicken remove the skin, cut into 10 part 

Dipping sauce ingredient

  • 30 ml of rice vinegar
  • 1 lime juice
  • 4 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of chili sauce
  • 5 ml of fish sauce
  • 10 grams coriander leaves, chopped
  • 15 ml of honey

Cabbage pickles ingredient

  • 200 gram of with cabbage
  • 1 piece of carrot
  • 1 shallot, thin sliced
  • 3 red eyes chili
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of warm water.

Cabbage pickles preparation

  1. Thinly slice the cabbage and carrot.
  2. Finely mix vinegar, shallot, salt, and sugar with warm water. Wait for two minutes.
  3. Add cabbage, chili, and carrot.
  4. Place in a medium bowl.


  • Charcoal 

Marinating process

  1. Prepare a large bowl.
  2. Finely chop the coriander leaves and put them in the bowl.
  3. Add pepper powder, oysters sauce, salty soy sauce, cooking oil, and chili.
  4. Add the chicken and mix it with the spice.
  5. Completely cover the bowl with plastic and marinate in the fridge for 12 hours.

Dipping sauce preparation

  1. Mix rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, chili sauce, coriander, and honey.
  2. Remove it into a small bowl.

How to cook

  1. Heat the charcoal and place it in the grill.
  2. Heat until 70 degrees Celcius.
  3. Grill the chicken until well cooked.
  4. Ping Kai is ready to serve with a side of dipping sauce and pickles. 
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