Vulnerable plaque is the one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease occurrence. However, conventional intravascular imaging techniques suffer from difficulty in finding vulnerable plaque due to limitation such as lack of physiological information, imaging depth, and depth sensitivity. Therefore, new techniques are needed to help determine the vulnerability of plaque, Thermal strain imaging (TSI) is an imaging technique based on ultrasound (US) wave propagation speed that varies with temperature of medium. During temperature increase, strain occurs in the medium and its variation tendency is depending on the type of tissue, which makes it possible to use for tissue differentiation. Here, we demonstrate laser-induced photo-thermal strain imaging (pTSI) to differentiate tissue using an intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) catheter and a 1210-nm continuous-wave laser for heating lipids intensively. During heating, consecutive US images were obtained from a custom-made phantom made of porcine fat and gelatin. A cross correlation-based speckle-tracking algorithm was then applied to calculate the strain of US images. In the strain images, the positive strain produced in lipids (porcine fat) was clearly differentiated from water-bearing tissue (gelatin). This result shows that laser-induced pTSI could be a new method to distinguish lipids in the plaque and can help to differentiate vulnerability of plaque.