Laos: Food to eat in Luang Prabang

By Cubie - March 11, 2019

I was travelling with my sister this round and we ate all of the food below. They are not in any particular order. I didn't include one of the breakfast meal we had because it was subpar and expensive! 

1. Khao soi
Different from khao soi from Chiang Mai as Luang Prabang's khao soi uses clear stock and it is topped with some chilli and fermented soy bean paste so has some bright red hue. We had it as part of our first meal in Luang Prabang at Sackarinh Guest House. Even though this wasn't the popular or highly recommended shop to have khao soi (or other dishes actually) but we found the food there to be yummy and affordable. We paid 18,000 kip. The drink in the background was a pineapple lemon dragon fruit shake (10,000 kip).

2. Phat lao koung (stir fry rice noodles)
I don't think this is particularly Lao food but maybe a variation of it as it reminded me of Thai's pad see ew, stir fry noodles with sweet soy sauce. We also had it in Sackarinh Guest House and paid 20,000 kip (yes, we had 4 meals there). Haha.

3. Stir fry basil pork
Like #2, maybe a Lao variation of stir fry basil pork, yummy nonetheless. We walked in a random shop on Sisavangvong Road. Sister and I ordered this with an iced Lao coffee and paid 30,000 kip for both. It was a light lunch because we had a very big breakfast that day and unfortunately, it was the worst meal we had in Luang Prabang and also the most expensive one.

4. Sindad (Lao barbeque)
This stall was in front of Sackarinh Guest House. We had grilled cuttlefish and chicken breast as entree before dinner. It was good and we planned to return to eat more as dinner the next day but the stall wasn't open. The skewers were 3,000 kip each.

5. Orlam chicken
Orlam is a spicy, peppery meat (we chose chicken) curry made from ingredients from the wild like cloud ear mushrooms, some greens and pea eggplant. It is one of Luang Prabang specialty food. You guessed it correctly, we also had at Sackarinh Guest House, 30,000 kip.

6. Khao piak (Lao tapioca noodles)
This was breakfast. Yup, Asians eat noodles for breakfast. We ordered noodles with pork and egg. Bean sprouts were served separately. This was at Xieng Thong Noodle, 14,000 kip.

We had another round of khao piak at another shop near Wat Xieng Thong, just near one of the entrance. The shop doesn't have a sign but this is how it looks like. I prefer the taste of this one and this is a bit cheaper at 10,000 kip but of course, this is pork and no egg added.

7. Kaipen (Mekong river weed)
Kai pen is Mekong river weed that was sprinkled with slices of garlic, onion, tomato and sesame seeds and dried. It is served fried and crispy, cut into squares. Addictively delicious. I imagine it would be a good beer snack. 15,000 kip at Sackarinh Guest House.

8. Fresh spring rolls
One of the ingredients in use is noodles strand and these little rolls were served with peanut dipping sauce. Yup, Sackarinh Guest House, 15,000 kip.

9. Mok pa (Steamed fish in banana leaves)
We ordered it at Sackarinh Guest House but also had it after making it at cooking lesson. The piece of fish meat is wrapped together with some combination of herbs, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

The one we ordered from shop

the one I cooked in class

10. Tam mak hoong (Luang Prabang papaya salad)
The taste of Luang Prabang papaya salad is different from Thai papaya sald. The Lao version is more of salty and spicy flavour, owing to the taste of fermented fish sauce. Sackarinh Guest House, 15,000 kip. 

11. Crepes
There are many stalls selling crepes leading to the night market. We bought from this stall, it was next to one that sells juice and we suspected they are husband and wife. We first ordered one with banana mango nutella and paid 10,000 kip. We walked away with our crepe, had the first piece and returned to get another one. It was really good - the crispy crepe and the combination flavour. The second crepe was equally good but the flavour combination not as good as the first one. We had banana mango pineapple for our second order, also 10,000 kip.

12. "Lao favourite" breakfast at Bamboo Tree Restaurant
If you want something more than just a bowl of noodles, please have this one. Both of us was very happy eating this and polished everything served. Sis stumbled on this breakfast meal when she was trying to find reviews for Bamboo Tree Restaurant's cooking lesson. We ended up having our lesson at Tamarind as it was a no lesson day at Bamboo Tree but we had this very good breakfast there.

Surprisingly we were not able to see this on their menu at the restaurant but were quite determine of having this. Lucky for us as well that when we were there, the restaurant owner was also at the shop and was very helpful. We told him we saw this on their facebook page, he logged in, saw the posted photo and made us this breakfast. Have a look on their facebook page, there are a few other options on offer but we wanted this one - Lao favourite breakfast, 28,000 kip.

Patongko is the deep fried crullers, somewhat similar to chinese youtiao.

From Bamboo Tree Restaurant facebook page

Sister's camera as prop

13. Ping pa (Grilled fish)
We had this in one of the restaurants overlooking Mekong River together with some bamboo fried rice. Grilled fish cost 40,000 kip and bamboo fried rice 16,000 kip. 

Grilled fish in action in morning market

14. Oua Si Khai (stuffed lemongrass), jeow mak keua (eggplant dip), jeow mak len (Lao tomato salsa), jeow som (sour peanut dipping sauce), gaeng nor mai (bamboo shoot soup), khao gam (purple sticky rice with coconut milk)

We made all the ones in this photo except for the bamboo soup and sour peanut dipping sauce. I'm sure the stuffed lemongrass and mok pa (steamed fish in the banana leaves) will impressed if you served your guests with them. Ha. I like all the food but not so much the bamboo soup.

Purple sticky rice is a very popular Asian dessert but the variation comes in the toppings. We added a dollop of tamarind sauce, sesame seeds, mango, apple, red dragon fruit, banana and fresh tamarind fruit.

15. Khao gee (grilled sticky rice)
It is sticky rice pressed and moulded into a flat-cake, lightly dipped in an egg wash and grilled over coals, giving it a thin, smokey and slightly crispy skin layer. We bought it when we were strolling at the morning market and caught a whiff of yummy food smell. However, after a bite, we think it probably wasn't this snack because it wasn't impressive.

16. Khao nom kok (Lao coconut cakes)
These little cakes are made from mixture of sticky rice flour, rice flour, coconut and sugar, poured into little round moulds and cooked over some hot charcoals. They were sold in fives cakes, served in a "bowl" made of banana leaves, 5,000 kip. We bought this on the same road to the night market.

This reminded me of a Malaysian cake called kuih cara. The sweet version of kuih cara uses a somewhat similar mixture but flour, coconut, pandan and gula melaka. They are cooked the same way though.

17. Fried bread
Actually I don't know what exactly this is called but the texture felt like deep fried bread, the soft kind of bread. We tried to ask but we didn't understand each other. :(
We saw this in Chomphet, 1,000 kip each.

18. Lao coffee
I don't remember how much was the iced coffee but the one with free banana cake was 15,000 kip.
We imagined it to be the fluffy kind of banana bread type but this one had a different texture but was tasty. Good strong coffee too.

19. Saffron Coffee
We had some time before going to the airport so we thought we would try out one of those hipster cafe. Did a takeaway to bring to the airport for lunch as well.

Large machiato + cheesecake brownie

Lao chicken in peanut sauce wrap

Side note: Now I need to go find something to eat to curb the growling stomach...

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