Salad Leaves, the Cabbage Family, and Other Edible Leaves

Appears in

Traditional Recipes of Laos

By Phia Sing

Published 1981

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The familiar lettuce, phak salat, is often used to provide leaves for wrapping up morsels of food before eating them. Another popular salad leaf, mildly pungent, of the genus PIPER, is known as phak i leut and is shown below left. Bai bona, lotus leaves, shown below right, are also often used as edible wrapping leaves.

The cabbage family, mainly BRASSICA spp., is well represented in South-East Asia, and some species have a bewildering number of varieties or cultivars. Phak had is the general Lao name for cabbage. Phak kad kieo is green cabbage, or mustard greens. The Chinese ‘white’ cabbage, of which there are many cultivars, is called phak kad khao. Its young leaves are shown below left. Beside this drawing is one of BRASSICA JUNCEA var. RUGOSA, sometimes known as Chinese or Swatow mustard. Its Lao name is phak kad Meo (the Meo hill tribe, now known as Hmong, being especially partial to it). When pickled, it is som phak kad Meo.