The Loei people developed many varieties of chaeo, or curry paste,
chaeo som, the most common chaeo, is made by grinding frash chilies,
salt and garlic, with a touch of pla ra, or pickled fish, and lemon
juice or indigenous leaves with sour taste. Another kind of chaeo,
called chaeo bong, is made from roasted dry chilli, grilled garlic
and onion, and salt, also with a touch of pickled fish. This dry
chaeo is thus fit for traveling. Apart from this, chaeo phrik sot is
made from young spicy chili. People in Dan Sai and Na Haeo have
their own specialty called chaeo nam phak, which has the same
ingredients as chaeo som except that vegetable stock is used in
place of pickled fish. Another specialty is chaeo dam, which is
similar to chaeo bong except that thin slices of lemongrass and
vegetable stock are added. Other varieties are chaeo pu, phaeo pla,
chaeo kung, and chaeo het, in which seasonal crabs, fishes, shrimp
and mushrooms are added respectively. Chaeo is taken with steamed
Fresh water shrimp from the Mekong River is eaten fresh. This dish
has become very popular among visitors to Kaeng Khut Khu.
Bullfrogs are pickled with salt and grilled paddy, then packed in
containers kept in sunlight for about one month. The product is used
in place of pickled fish, or in making a curry.
Red meat or pork with salty cow skin, are into bamboo sticks, which
are grilled afterwards.
Miang or young tea leaves
A specialty in Tambon Saeng Pha in Na Haeo, Miang is made by pouring
hot water over young tea leaves. The leaves are grated to rid off
water, then stuffed into bamboo sticks. The resulting fermented
leaves, called miang become a side dish to be served with curry, lap
Nang Pla Phong
In Chiang Khan, fish skin is peeled, boiled and then left in
sunlight before being immersed into oil for preservation. The skin
is then deep fried until it becomes crispy.