Ban Xang Hai would just be another dusty village along the Mekong River if it were not famous for distilling Laotian whiskey called Lao Lao. Notice the wicker basket on top of the tank. It contains dried sticky rice. Water is poured into it and boiled for two hours by the roaring fire in the pit below. The laow (alcohol) then drains down the pipe and is filtered through a cloth before entering the clay pot. From there it is bottled and sold in a stand a few feet away.