Pak la have long fronds and are used in Lao recipes as a bitter ingredient, such as in bamboo soup. They may be chopped and fried into an omelette. Another variety of acacia with shorter fronds, pak ka, may be substituted. Outside of Luang Namtha, the long fronds are also called pak ka. Acacia fronds are readily available year round in Laos and Thai wet markets.
6 thoughts on “Acacia fronds ຜັກລະ pak la”
Dorothy, I actually think that Pak La and pak ka are the same. Pak la is the Luang Namtha word for it. Other names in Lao are Pak Nao and Pak Men. One is a Luang Prabang word and the other Muang Sing. I forget which is which now.
Thanks for the useful feedback. Yes, there is a regional variation in the name for the same frond. One reference in my notes comes from the Check list of Lao Plant Names, compiled by Mike Callaghan, 2004, p4: “phak kha, (Vientiane) kha vegetable, Acacia pennata (L) Wildenow subsp kerrii Nielson; I also have notes that pak la is also acacia pennata, and that pak ka is Acacia insuavis. Tonight I think I cracked it: insuavis is a subspecies of pennata: Acacia pennata subsp insuavis. Callaghan identifies another acacia: phak lae (in Thai) Acacia megdalena Desv. var. megdalena, (found in Northern Laos).
Thank goodness I’m not a botanist!
Thanks for the name in Laotian. This is called ‘cha-om’ in Thai. The tree is thorny. The leaves have a distinct aroma. It’s great in bamboo soup as you mentioned and other Thai dishes.
and it makes for really smelly farts! perhaps that accounts for the lao “pak men”. fabaceae, tree legumes, gotta luv em! great site!!!! thanks
Yanang is a big green leaved vine with a bitter taste. I think there is an entry on the website about it, just use the search engine on the website. I am in Uzbekistan at the moment so cannot check it out for you. Interesting about the red ants. I hate their bites so I’ll stick to the eggs, thank you,
Love your comment and the Lao name! Dorothy
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