First off, Luang Prabang is incredible! Situated about an hour’s flight from Thailand, this gorgeous mountain city offers so much to do and more importantly, to EAT!! The food was spectacular, the locals were so welcoming and friendly, and the natural beauty?!! Incredible! It is quite surprising but this little oasis in SouthEast Asia still seems unspoiled by tourists. In this article, I’ll talk about a few things that make Luang Prabang one of my favorite travel destinations to date!
What To Eat in Luang Prabang?
Okay, the food. Although you can find many Western cuisines and non-Asian food spots to eat, why would you? You’re in freaking Southeast Asia, am I right?? But sometimes Khao Soy or Papaya Salads can start to get old after a few weeks so if that’s the case, don’t worry, the Luang Prabang restaurant scene has got you covered! As you may have noticed, lots of our blog posts are food-centric because for us, trying new and different cuisines is one of the best parts of traveling!
Luang Prabang was incredible for the foodie! From local delicacies to western food with an Asian flair, everyone can find something they like! Even some of the hotel restaurants are great spots that offer a wide range of five-star food. Now, these aren’t your standard hotel restaurants; there are legit Lao grannies back there cooking up some absolutely INCREDIBLE food, usually for $3 or less for most dishes.
Our Favorite Spots!
One spot to check out is the Alamea Restaurant inside the Victoria Xiengthong Palace Hotel. Very reasonable prices, amazing food, and the drink specials were dangerously cheap. If you go during happy hour, drinks are buy one get one free! The food is fabulous and the service is top notch! If you get there on a not-so-busy night, you can usually get a nice table with a fabulous river view.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m definitely not the type to eat at a hotel’s restaurants and usually avoid them at all costs because the food is generally westernized crap, but, let me tell you, this place, and other hotel restaurants in the area, are legit! Don’t count them out when googling restaurants! Have a look at their menu to see some dishes and prices at Alamea Restaurant!
Best Restaurant in Luang Prabang?
As for some cuisine with an Asian/French fusion, our favorite restaurant in Luang Prabang was a little spot called Le Bistro Ban Vat Sene. We ate there more times than I am wiling to admit because not only was the food delicious, but they had such a wide variety! Sweet and Sour Mekong Fish-check. Steak and chips-check. Pad Thai or Pho-check. Honey Toast and Ice Cream-check! They really had it all, and with great service and decent prices(albeit a little more expensive than most LP places but still very affordable compared to western prices). Seriously, try the Honey toast, may be the best dessert I’ve ever had. Like ever, ever. Buffalo steak and chips, green curry, we never had anything on the menu that was bad.
Here’s the menu from their website, although from what I can tell, their 2022 menu is a bit different. The currency in Laos, the kip, is down pretty big over the past couple of years so restaurants have had to adjust their menu prices accordingly. Don’t miss out on a visit to this little bistro on your trip, you will definitely regret it! When we go back it’s the first place we will be eating, 100%!
Something to drink?
Another great spot we visited a few times on our trip to Luang Prabang was a little tea house a couple kilometers off the main road. Called The Teahouse, this little restaurant/shop offers some of the best iced-tea that I’ve tasted. I’m not sure of the exact name of the tea that is used, but it’s listed on the menu as Lao Iced Tea and was about 15,000 kip. They brought it out after a few minutes of making it from scratch and we were both amazed at how delicious it was! The tea was very refreshing and we left after relaxing for a half hour or so. We loved this spot so much that we walked back the next day instead of using the bikes but I would definitely not recommend doing that unless it was a cloudy or cool day. We arrived and quickly ordered some food, the fried chicken and chips, and another round of those iced teas.
Usually I never get sick of Asian food and they had some on the menu, but I wanted to try fried chicken once while I was in Laos and I’m glad we did. It was delicious! A must-try if you are in Luang Prabang.
We loved our visits to the Teahouse. Everything was fresh and made to order. The coconut ice cream for dessert was just the cherry on top! So delicious! Our long walk home through a local neighborhood was a blast and a great way to see the city and people from a different perspective. There is also a ton of handmade paper craft stores nearby so definitely check those out before heading back to town.
Can’t wait to go back!
Just writing this blog and reminiscing on my time in Laos makes me sure of one thing: I can’t wait to get back to Luang Prabang! The food back home in the PNW while good, just doesn’t compare. And the freaking price difference is staggering.. You can eat amazing, high quality food, in Luang Prabang and get out out for around $4 USD per person or less in most cases. Our Teahouse bill with two iced teas, fried chicken and chips, and coconut ice cream came out to 95,000 kip, around $6 USD. That would easily been $40+ in the States, before tax and tip, a 700% markup!! For a fraction of the quality. Just some food for thought but crazy, huh?
Ok, back to Luang Prabang. All I can say is that if your coming to SouthEast Asia, make sure and carve out a week or so for this mountain gem, you will not regret it! The food, the people, the scenery, all incredible!
Check out some more of my other posts about Luang Prabang and other SouthEast Asia travels!