Luang Prabang, Laos – a city and country so close to Singapore yet still very much under the radar for many if you compare to the likes of Bangkok, Thailand or Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We fell love with the rustic and unspoiled beauty of Laos when we visited the country for voluntary work during our school days. Fortunately, it is much easier to get to Luang Prabang today than a decade ago, with a direct flight launched by SilkAir to both Vientiane and Luang Prabang since last November. We visited Luang Prabang recently and while we had a fabulous stay at the Sofitel Luang Prabang (Read on for our full review of Sofitel Luang Prabang), we also had a great time checking out the local food scene. Here are some of our recommendations if you visit Luang Prabang, from budget to the splurge range!
Khao Soy Noodles
One of the street food we enjoyed in Luang Prabang is Khao Soy noodles, which has its own variations in Myanmar or Thailand. There are a few stalls around the night market where you can try this local noodle, which is a delicious soup of noodles with minced pork or chicken.
It’s not all about vegetables and raw meats here at the biggest morning market in Luang Prabang. Walk further down the alley of vendors and you will find some stalls selling local cuisine and grilled meats such as pork and buffalo. It is a no frills eat and go setting, but this makes a good spot if you want to catch a quick glimpse into the local street food.
Where: Alleys between Main Street (Sisavangvong Road) and Mekong River, Luang Prabang, Laos
If you walk towards the night market, you will notice many stalls selling fruits juices and crepes. You may wonder why crepes, where we can only link to the fact that Laos was once a French colony. Whatever the reason, we had the crepes twice and left satisfied with this snack after shopping.
Located along the main street of the UNESCO old town, this colonial inspired cafe is a cool two-storey space with solid brunch and dinner menu. We love the black and white interior, where it is the perfect space in the day for some street and people watching over coffee.
Where: 98 หน่วย 2 Sisavangvong Rd,, Luang Prabang, Laos
We didn’t expect a space like Saffron Coffee to exist in this town, located in a quieter corner off the main street and complete with a view of the Mekong River. With a vision of promoting sustainable farming, all the beans here are local produce to support the local coffee farmers. The wooden interior cafe is a spacious two-storey where you can pretty much laze here the whole day without any disturbance.
Where: Khem Khong Road, Ban Wat Nong, Luang Prabang
We didn’t come Luang Prabang expecting a good bakery but Joma Bakery changed our perception. The popular bakery has a wide range of pastries, cakes and coffee from croissants to cheese cakes. The quality of the cake is relatively decent, even though the service was meh.
Where: Chao Fa Ngum Road, Luang Prabang, Laos
You can’t miss Coconut restaurant if you walk along the old town area as the huge restaurant is strategically located on the main street. The extensive menu spans across Laotian delights to International cuisine, a good option if you are in for a good mix to share. Some of the dishes we tried include the spring roll, omelette, local pork stew and sticky rice, one of the must try Laotian dish! Prices are fairly reasonable given that the target audience are mainly tourist, ranging between 40k to 60k kips on average.
Where: Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang 0600, Laos
Facing the smaller Nam Khan River, Bamboo Tree restaurant has a simple no-frills interior serving local Laotian cuisine, in addition to being a cooking school as well. We tried some of the local delights such as chicken cooked with coconut and chilli sauce and Mekong Seaweed, which are delicious. The prices of the dishes average around 50k to 70k kips.
Where: Kingkitsarath Road, At Nam Khan River Side, Ban Watsan, BP 889, Luang Prabang 0600, Laos
3 Nagas Restaurant & Bar
Located in the centre of the UNESCO town of Luang Prabang, 3 Nagas is a boutique hotel managed by Accor Group, similar to Sofitel Luang Prabang. The resident restaurant 3 Nagas serves Lao cuisine in a nice al fresco or indoor setting. We tried the Lao Flavours Tasting Menu w, hich include local dishes such as fish soup with lemongrass and minced chicken cooked in coconut milk and curry. Flavours were hearty and we were generally impressed by the standards of the food. Average prices of the a la carte dishes range between 60k to 70k kips.
Where: Hotel 3 Nagas Luang Prabang MGallery by Sofitel, Vat Nong Village, Luang Prabang 00600, Laos
As the resident restaurant of Sofitel Luang Prabang, Governor’s Grill prides itself as the only steakhouse in town, specialising in buffalo meat dishes. The ambience of the restaurant takes after the laid back vibe of the luxury boutique resort, in a tent setting. We had the Buffalo Tasting Menu with buffalo meat done various ways – Carpaccio, Laap, Bourguignon, Rib Steak and Skewer. If you are looking for a nice and romantic dining spot in Luang Prabang, we highly recommend Governor’s Grill set within the UNESCO site of Sofitel Luang Prabang.
Where: Hotel Sofitel Luang Prabang, Ban Mano, Luang Prabang 00600, Laos
Ranted by The Ranter