Luang Prabang offers a good variety of places to eat – from the stalls at the night market, small eateries along the Mekong, quite a few tourist restaurant and even some higher prices restaurants. Saying that Luang Prabang doesn’t have such developed street food scene like other places in SEA, especially like in Thailand or Vietnam. While it might be a little disappointment, you still have many places that offer great value for your money.Most restaurants in the Old Town are on Sisavangvong Road with a few more upscale restaurants along the Nam Khan river.
Coconut Garden Restaurant
This restaurant on Sisavangvong Road is easily recognisable thanks to the lanterns at the entrance and the beautiful courtyard. They also have more tables in the back garden and inside the building – some of the tables there overlooking the garden and courtyard. They serve some traditional Lao dishes like Mok Pa, but also Western food like pizza. The various dishes I and the people I went there with had were very good. So for a nice setting and good price it is a good place to stay. Prices are higher than in the other places, but in comparison to other touristy places still not expensive. Good place for dinner.
Like most other restaurant the Garden Restaurant, located on the left side coming from the night market, has a few tables on the front perch, while more tables are inside and in the back garden. For people watching it is a good psot, but I thought the food was mediocore. The curry was too watery, more like a soup. I didn’t try any other food there, as with so many choices I didn’t visit the place again. There are just so many better places in Luang Prabang.
One of the first restaurants on the right side of Sisavangvong Road after the night market is Coconut restaurant. They have a lovely little terrace on the front, offering a nice view over the street. They serve a great full grilled fish to share, with every part still on it. It was delicious. The other dishes I saw on the other table also looked very good. So if you want to have some grilled fish I would highly recommend it.
Next to the Coconut Garden restaurant is the Khmu. This place is easily recognisable due to the interesting layout of the outdoor dining area, which is actually covered by a tree like roof. It adds a charming touch to the place. They serve reasonable priced Lao dishes, with some dishes a more French touch. The laap and the stew were both excellent.
Food places at Sisavanvong Road
At the end of Sisavangvong, where most restaurants are located, are two little food places in a little alley to the left after th Cocnut Garden restaurant. You can some little plastic chair on the square. The tables and chairs on the left side belong to the food place further down the alley, while the chairs and table on the right belong to the food places inside the building on the right side. Both places reminded me of the street food in Thailand or Vietnam. They sell some typical Lao food, and I would highly recommend the Laap there. The prices are slightly higher than at the market, but the food is freshly prepared and has better quality. A main dish was still only 30.000 Kip. THey alos sell some very tasty fruit juices. If you are on a buget and spend enough time at the market go to these places for good food for a low price.
Night market Food stalls
At the start of the night market there is a little alley turning left off Sisavangvong Road where you find the food market every single night. To protect guests from rain the alley has a roof – so you can eat here whatever the weather is like. In this alley you can find stalls selling little coconut cakes, fresh and fried springrolls and then there are a number of buffet stalls. Here you pay by the plate – take a plate, put as much food on it as possible, and pay 15.000 Kip. And there is a wide selection: spring rolls, rice, variety of noodles, all kind of vegetables, fruits…you are not spoiled for choice. If you feel the food got a bit cold (even in a hot country the food get cold when it stays outside the whole time) they are happy to put the content of the plate into a wok and cook it briefly. However, it is all vegetarian food. If you want some meat or fish you have to buy it at another stall.
There are then plenty of chairs and tables to sit down and enjoy the food. It is also a good point to catch up with others, it is very likey you might meet people from previous places or from the boat. Yes, the uqality might not be the best, but you cannot find a better place to get more vlaue for your money. And I must admit, it has a great atmosphere. This place shouldn’t be missed, even to have a look around. If you only need a little snack I would recommend paying a visit to fresh spring rolls and cocnut cake stalls at the beginning of the alley…just delicious.
Food stalls on corner Sisavangvong Road and Kitsalat Rd.
At night, when the baguette places have disappeared, there are two food stalls next to the square on Sisavangvong Raod / Kitsalat Road. They offer a variety of snacks they put on a plate – and here they have some meat available as well. This reminded me more of the typical street food you find throughout SEA. If you want to have the food there they might even offer you a seat on the wall behind the stall. There were no chairs. The second stall offers fresh little pancakes you can top with banana, other fruit or chocolate. They are tasty. And they also serve baguettes, but unlike the one sold on the square these ones are fantastic. It was also the only stall offering baguette with some meat pate which I really fell in love with in southern Laos. And now to the biggest advantage of these two stalls – they are open very very late. When everything is closed in this area, they still serve food. Even when returning from the bowling alley after 2am. So this is the place for a late night snack…but also a good place for a basic but tasty dinner.