Restaurants In Laos: A Tasty Adventure
Welcome to our friendly and informative guide on the best restaurants in Laos! The cuisine of Laos is a wonderful fusion of flavors and ingredients that will delight your taste buds. This guide will introduce you to some of the must-visit restaurants in the country, as well as provide tips for making the most of your dining experiences. So, let’s dig in and explore the culinary delights that Laos has to offer!
The Culinary Scene in Laos
Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, is known for its diverse culinary scene that combines the best of Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisines. From the bustling street food stalls in Vientiane to the riverside restaurants in Luang Prabang, you’ll find an array of dishes that are fresh, fragrant, and full of flavor. Lao cuisine typically features sticky rice, fresh herbs, and a variety of meats and vegetables, all enhanced by the addition of fermented fish sauce (padek) or shrimp paste (kapi).
Top Restaurants in Vientiane
Located in the heart of Vientiane, Makphet is a social enterprise restaurant that offers a unique dining experience. Established by Friends International, Makphet not only serves delicious Lao food but also provides training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youths. The menu is a creative take on traditional Lao dishes, using local ingredients and unique flavor combinations. Don’t miss their signature dish, the Lao Tasting Platter, which offers a sampling of some of their most popular items.
2. Kualao Restaurant
For a taste of authentic Lao cuisine in a traditional setting, visit Kualao Restaurant. Housed in a beautiful colonial building, the restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, complete with live Lao music and dance performances. The menu features a wide variety of Lao dishes, such as Or Lam (a stew made with buffalo meat, aubergine, and lemongrass) and Mok Pa (steamed fish with herbs wrapped in banana leaves). Pair your meal with a refreshing Beerlao or a glass of Lao-Lao, the local rice whiskey.
Top Restaurants in Luang Prabang
Tamarind is a popular restaurant in Luang Prabang, known for its commitment to preserving and promoting traditional Lao cuisine. With a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and an emphasis on healthy eating, Tamarind offers a menu that is both delicious and nutritious. Be sure to try their famous tasting platter, which includes an assortment of dips, salads, and sticky rice, as well as their refreshing lemongrass cooler.
2. Manda de Laos
Manda de Laos is a stunning restaurant set around a UNESCO-listed lotus pond, offering a serene dining experience. The menu is a celebration of traditional Lao family recipes, passed down through generations. Indulge in their signature Luang Prabang Salad, which features watercress, grilled eggplant, and a zesty dressing, or the succulent Ping Sin Moo (grilled marinated pork). To complete your meal, enjoy a selection of homemade ice creams with unique flavors like tamarind, coconut, and ginger.
Top Street Food Spots
Exploring Laos’ street food scene is a must for any food-loving traveler. Head to the bustling
1. Vientiane Night Market
Located along the Mekong River in Vientiane, the Night Market is a lively and colorful spot to enjoy a variety of street food options. From savory grilled meats and seafood to sweet treats like coconut pancakes, there’s something for every palate. Be sure to try the popular Lao dish, Khao Piak Sen (a noodle soup with chicken or pork), as well as the crispy Laotian-style fried spring rolls.
2. Luang Prabang Night Market
Another must-visit destination for street food enthusiasts is the Luang Prabang Night Market. As the sun sets, the charming streets of this UNESCO World Heritage city come alive with stalls offering a wide array of Lao specialties. Sample the mouthwatering Lao-style barbecue, indulge in a bowl of Khao Soi (a spicy noodle soup), or savor the delicious flavors of Laap (a minced meat salad with fresh herbs).
3. Talat Sao Morning Market, Vientiane
For an early morning food adventure, head to the Talat Sao Morning Market in Vientiane. This bustling market is a feast for the senses, with vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to traditional Lao dishes. Try the popular Jok (rice porridge) or Nam Kao (crispy rice salad with fermented pork sausage) for a hearty breakfast. Don’t forget to grab some freshly made Khaonom Krok (coconut rice pancakes) for a sweet treat to enjoy throughout the day.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options
While Lao cuisine is typically meat-centric, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available, especially in the larger cities. Many restaurants offer tofu or mushroom-based dishes that are just as flavorful as their meat counterparts. Look for eateries with “tam mak hoong” (papaya salad) and “som pak” (fermented vegetable salad), which can often be made without fish sauce upon request. The Vegetarian Food Buffet in Luang Prabang and the Kung’s Café Vientiane in Vientiane are both popular choices for plant-based dining.
Laos offers an incredible culinary adventure that is not to be missed. From the bustling street food markets to the serene riverside restaurants, you’ll find delicious dishes that showcase the country’s rich culinary traditions. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or just looking to sample some local flavors, this guide will help you navigate the best restaurants in Laos.