Ban Xang Hai: a Whiskey Village Near Luang Prabang
Those who are familiar with Laos might have heard about a whiskey village nestled along the Mekong River near Luang Prabang. It’s a regular stop for boats going to the historical Pak Ou Caves, but can also be reached via a 30-minute car ride.
At first sight Ban Xang Hai is your typical village: dogs sleep on the doorsteps of wooden houses, children play with an old tire, women do the laundry. However, the village is rightly known for its production for local rice wine. Our guide explains the distillation process of this local wine, which normally takes about three or four weeks to produce.
The production of rice wine requires sticky rice that is kept in a container that allows the air to come through. This way the rice becomes very dry. After this the rice is steamed in a bamboo basket and washed to get rid of its stickiness.
The next step is to add yeast and leave it to ferment for about three weeks. After this, the fermented rice is boiled in a big tank with a filter inside that allows the steam to gather. The cooled off rice wine is now ready for drinking.
Sometimes dead snakes, centipedes or cockroaches add to the flavor.
Khiri Travel advises guests to come here in the afternoon. Clients can take part in a Lao laow (alcohol) tasting experience. Those who really enjoy rice wine can purchase a bottle to share with friends back home.
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