Vientiane, Laos


There are many restaurants in Vientiane. They offer a wide selection of cuisines ranging from Chinese to Tex-Mex. More restaurants open all the time, but many are there for just a few months before they go under. A few are successful and stay and may even flourish. It’s a question of offering something special, either in the way of the food served, atmosphere or friendly and competent service.
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Noodle shops can be found all over Vientiane and typically served are rice noodle soups ("feu", a close cousin to Vietnamese "pho"). They also serve fried rice and other rice or noodle-based dishes. Prices are very moderate at around USD1 for a large bowl or plate. For authentic Lao food and dining experience there is one noodle soup shop on the street across from the end of Rue Saylom (next to a green Fuji film shop) with the sign "DELICIOUS NOODLE". This restaurant offers the best Lao white thick rice noodles with some pieces of chicken or other meats, quail's eggs and the usual vegetable servings of spring onions, cilantro and mung bean sprouts. There's also the Kanom Ku (Chinese doughnuts) on the side. Offers unlimited servings and it's all for 8,000 kip plus 1,000 kip per Kanom Ku consumed. Most importantly, the noodle soup tastes great, the broth is delicious.

Fried noodles by Jpatokal

Along Xiang Lane, a dirt alley north of Hatsady Road and Talat Sao (Morning Market) and across from the Bank of Ayudhya, is a small group of stalls offering local food patronized by office workers. The ambiance is similar to the morning and night street food markets in Luang Prabang and the vendors seemingly have not been co-opted by a tourist-mindset. At 9:30 a.m., flies rarely hover and the food is steaming hot, having just been lifted out of the cooking fire. On the west side of the morning food market, one can sample fried cricket delicacies together with other bug-like critters.

Fried crickets by Chaoborus

Ban Anou Night Market is only about one block long and starts setting up at sundown. The stretch has some of the best cheap eats in Vientiane. There's a wide range of street snacks here including "pho" made with hand-pulled noodles, little lettuce-wrapped snacks with peanut filling called "miang" and all types of grilled skewered meats, grilled sticky rice, local beverages made from coconut, chai tea, corn grass jelly and more. Particularly worth trying are the small rice pancakes comprising of two hemispheres of rice-based batter filled with minced meat and bean sprouts. It is about the size of a flattened tennis ball and absolutely delicious.
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