River weed or rock algae, Chlorophyta spirogyra ໄຄ່ິກ kai hin (raw); ໄຄແຜ່ນ kai paen, kai phaen, khai paen (dried sheets)

River weed or rock algae

Long strands of river weed grow in flowing Lao rivers. In Luang Namtha province they are collected by the locals and served up either as a thick, simmered, spicy sauce or dried in thin sheets which have been sprinkled with tamarind and ginger juice and other aromatics such as sesame seeds, tomato and garlic. The dry sheets are cut into small squares and flash shallow fried for a tasty drinks snack. Kai paen can also be toasted over a fire or in a microwave oven.

Here is the process of collecting and preparing river weed for consumption and sale in Luang Prabang, shared by Joost Foppes via Facebook. Thanks, Joost!

© Food From Northern Laos | Galangal Press

8 thoughts on “River weed or rock algae, Chlorophyta spirogyra ໄຄ່ິກ kai hin (raw); ໄຄແຜ່ນ kai paen, kai phaen, khai paen (dried sheets)

  1. Hi Dorothy,
    They are making the same way in my home town.(KengTong,Shan State,Myanmar).
    I fry them and eat with sticky rice.
    Thanks you for your post,I got many knowledge.


    1. Hi, MeeMee, that’s very interesting. I love the taste and crispiness of fried Kai paen. What is it called in Shan state?


      1. We call fresh weed “Thao”.
        We use fry fresh weed to do salad and fry.
        That Kai pawn,we call “Thao paen”.
        Yes,they do like in Lao put chilli,sesame seed,garlic.
        Most are spicy.


  2. Dear Dorothy,
    This kind of food , Kai paen are traditional food in Northern Thailand , Nan, Phare , ChiangRai.
    We have two kind of freshwater edible algae, Spirogyra known as Tao,long strands with slimy sheath. We eat them as salad with spicy ingredients
    Another one , Cladophora are known as Kai. It’s look alike Tao but the strand not smooth .
    In Thailand we have a recipe, Kai Yee, we bring the chopped and dried kai cook in pan with garlic, salt and sesame . It taste yummy !!



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