As you all probably know by now, I can blab on about food into the next century. So I thought instead of giving you the ins and outs of everywhere we ate in Laos, I would simply do a run down of our top picks from each place we visited.
We started our Laos experience in Savannakhet (and if you want to know how that crazy journey went you should read my blog HERE). Savannakhet was pretty much a ghost town for the couple of days we were there, restaurants were also pretty limited but the best two for food in Savannakhet we found were:
Lins Cafe, #1 on Trip Advisor and for a good reason to be fair. It was a really good all rounder, the menu was extensive and covered many cuisines, the cafe itself was clean and had good WiFi. We couldn’t complain with the food either. Reasonably priced local cuisine is always a winner and the pineapple fried rice was a particular favourite.
I had the Japanese tongkatsu pork, with miso soup on my second visit, which was really good. Always check the “set” options on the menu as it usually includes rice and a soup for 20% extra, which is better value for money than ordering the rice as a side.
My personal favourite in Savannakhet was Pilgrims Kitchen, hidden a little around a corner and always a lot quieter than Lin’s but the food, I thought, was amazing. Again they had a mix of cuisines on the menu and all at reasonable prices. Me and Georgi both decided to go for the Indian thali, mine as a meat version and G’s as a veggie. My chicken rogan was fantastic and all the accompaniments hit the spot, was one of my favourite meals in Laos!
Our final stop in Laos was Lung Prabang, an absolutely beautiful town on the Mekong river with food to match. After doing our usual research and reading many reviews online we decided on three restaurants to try over our two nights in LP.
Winner of the most unusual but tasty dish goes to Bouang Cafe. I went for the pork and cinnamon stew, a combo I had never tried before, on a bed of mash. It was really well cooked and the pork just fell apart, the stew was of that nice thick gravy like consistency and everything just worked. It really did taste like winter/Christmas which was weird as it was 32 degrees lol Georgi had the gnocchi in Thai green curry, which is also an odd mix of Italian and Thai but worked really well! If your in LP and on a budget Bouang is worth a visit 100%.
Our second choice was very much a traditional Laos restaurant called Cafe Toui, the owner is the chef, which also helps the quality of the food. I had an incredible duck curry, the levels of flavour were unbelievable, the sort of spice/seasoning/ sourness that made your mouth salivate before the food hit your tongue. The picture doesn’t do it justice, if your in LP and want to try the local cuisine and maybe ask the owner some questions this is definitely the restaurant for you. He is more than happy to discuss recipes and show you how dishes are made.
On our final night it was our anniversary (if you want to find out how we spent our day follow this link) So we decided to go a bit upmarket and try the local tapas and cocktail bar “525”. It was a fantastic setting just out of the centre of LP, by the time we got there unfortunately the front courtyard was full up so we sat inside. The atmosphere was perfect, dimmed lights, jazz playing in the background along with the sound of cocktails being made, we could have been back in the UK at a London bar. It really did have that feel to it!
The tapas was of western influence and included some really interesting as well as classic flavour combos. We had: G&T fish potatas bravas veggie lasagne, quesadillas, pulled pork sliders, aubergine caviar on spicy rice crackers and the dessert sharing board (2 boards came, and on enquiring, it wasn’t a mistake!) When you order the sharing board they bring you two, so you don’t have to pick off each others plates.
The whole evening was fantastic, the management have done an amazing job in creating and pulling off a western influenced tapas menu, as well as an extensive cocktail list to western standards. You could see why it was the local hangout for all the expats. On another note it was really good to see that the management were passionate about educating the local staff to make cocktails properly as well as western style service points.