Peaceful Luang Prabang in Laos is the ideal place to relax and unwind, but also to immerse yourself in Lao cuisine. This small peninsula on the banks of the Mekong is home to some of the country’s best dining options; from laid-back cafes to cutting-edge restaurants, there’s so much to sample here. Or why not take a cooking class and learn how to create delicious Lao food at home? Here is our guide to some must-try restaurants and culinary experiences to tick off while in Luang Prabang:
You cannot leave Luang Prabang without sampling the culinary delights on offer at Tamarind. Overlooking the peaceful Nam Khan River, the restaurant is famous for its platter of Lao specialities, including spicy Luang Prabang sausage, jaew dips and of course sticky rice. Not only is this a great way to sample the best of Lao cuisine, but their helpful waiting staff will explain what the different foods are and how to eat them. They also offer a Set Dinner from just 120,000 KIP per person, so no matter what your budget you can enjoy fantastic Lao cuisine in a beautiful riverside setting.
Laid-back café-style restaurant Coconut Garden is the perfect place to grab lunch on Luang Prabang’s bustling main thoroughfare, Sisavangvong Road. Order a fresh coconut, sit back and people watch from their leafy front terrace – there’s even free Wi-Fi. The Kroua Moo Saille Kring – sautéed pork with ginger – is truly delicious and a perfect accompaniment to Lao sticky rice. With its central location close to all the main sights, this is the perfect spot to refuel or relax after a day of exploring.
This fashionable French-Lao restaurant is a must-try while in Luang Prabang. L’Elephant is situated in an elegant colonial building on central Van Vat Nong, and offers up typical Lao delicacies, such as Betel Leaf Soup, alongside French staples like steak tartare and frog’s legs. It’s the go-to venue for celebrities while in Laos too, having hosted Mick Jagger and Kylie Minogue to name but two! L’Elephant also offers gourmet hampers to takeaway, perfect for picnics!
A meal at Blue Lagoon is a real treat while in Luang Prabang. One of the town’s more upmarket restaurant options, Blue Lagoon is perfect for special occasions and is famed for its unusual Lao-Swiss fusion cuisine. Their traditional Lao Platter is the perfect way to sample a variety of traditional Lao dishes in one sitting, or opt for the Swiss menu and try a fondue! With an extensive wine list and elegant, secured courtyard, Blue Lagoon is definitely worth a visit to see the finer side of Luang Prabang’s dining scene.
The Morning Market
The small but vibrant Morning Market is well-worth a visit for a real culinary experience of Luang Prabang. Tucked down an alleyway just off busy Sisavangvong Road, here you will be able to pick up a variety of traditional Lao snacks such as buffalo skin, sticky rice cakes and crispy river weed, all while soaking up the atmosphere and seeing how locals buy and eat their food. The market opens early, and is packed away by 11am so be prepared for an early start if you want to see this Luang Prabang institution.
Take a cooking class
Tamarind Cooking School, run by the restaurant, is highly recommended. In a peaceful setting, surrounded by home-grown herbs and fragrant tamarind trees, their chefs will teach you how to make two varieties of jaew dips, delicious steamed fish in banana leaves, chicken stuffed in fragrant lemongrass stalks and, of course, Lao delicacy sticky rice! At the end of the class, sit down with your fellow students and enjoy a delicious meal, plus a selection of traditional Lao desserts like coconut sticky rice with banana. A recipe book is included, so you can recreate your favourites back home. Prices start at 215,000 Kip.
All images provided by Insider Journeys.