Food in Luang Prabang | Adventure Laos

Food in Luang Prabang

Food in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a gorgeous little town, it always has been, but there have been changes since our last visit. Admittedly that last visit was over 15 years ago, so no surprises there! I wasn’t keen for the first few days. That’s not like me at all, mostly it was because we had some bad food experiences, we picked the wrong places and got sick. Easy to do in a new town. There were other things, being offered drugs, even with the children. Taxis and travel agents trying to charge us crazy money for tours and the touristy feel this town has developed since our last visit. But change happens, it always does. We all need to let go of the past.

Now I’ve spent some time here, found my places to eat and drink, I love it, it’s wonderful, such a very, very lovely town if you just explore a bit more. See 9 reasons to visit Luang Prabang for more information on the amazing things to do here.

The temples and monasteries are stunning, the historic town itself is beautiful and there are some great trips out to waterfalls, villages, elephant attractions and craft centres, but food is really important part of travel to us. You may have noticed I’m travelling with a chef.

If we’d left after those first few days I’d have gone away thinking food in Luang Prabang was a complete disaster. It’s not at all and I’m glad we stayed on, for over two weeks in the end.

This time we were travelling on a backpackers budget, so we were looking for good Asian food at affordable prices. If you have more money to spend your experiences will be completely different, there are plenty of up-market eateries in town.

Food in Luang Prabang

On our backpackers’ budget, the fancy little cafes aren’t on the menu. They’re cute and the menus look great, but it’s just not going to happen, particularly not with 4 mouths to feed.

The night market, the lane that comes off the main street, is stuffed with interesting looking food. Vegetarian buffets, meat on a stick, spring rolls, papaya salads, it all looks amazing and it’s all cheap.

10,000 Kip ( just over a dollar) for a buffet is a great deal, we tried it, the food was OK, mostly noodles. It’s the sort of food they tell you to avoid when you’re travelling, not freshly cooked, not hot, not covered. You won’t see the locals eating there.

Two of us went down with tummy bother the day after the vegetarian buffet, we didn’t try the meat, so can’t comment. Chef was severely sick for several days, his own fault, he should know better! But after we’d recovered from that disaster we started doing better.



Freshly made Laos donuts from a street seller in Luang Prabang. Delicious and a big hit with the kids.

The baguette stalls on the corner are another 10,000 Kip budget option and the baguettes are big enough to share. We’ve eaten there often. It’s the food you’re supposed to avoid again, salad and cold sandwich fillings with extra added flies. They’re pretty good and no tummy bother so far. You can get great coffee from the baguette ladies and the children love the yummy fruit shakes, loaded with condensed milk and Orios, eat in at the cute little tables, or take away.

Noodle soup stalls come in at around 10,000Kip, too. We’ve found our noodle stall after a bit of trial and error, we like it and we’re sticking with it. It’s the one opposite the new monastery on the main street. The locals love this one.
Laos noodle soup from a street stall, Luang Prabang
Delicious vegetable noodle soup from “our” street stall. Thongmoun Aunt, opposite the monastery, add fresh chili, lime and herbs to taste.

There are some lovely bakeries in Luang Prabang too, if you’re craving coffee and a cake, you won’t be disappointed.

Unfortunately, we’ve had some really disappointing meals in cafes here, an omelette that came with tinned European mushrooms and a slice of processed cheese was a slap in the face after the fantastic wild oyster mushrooms we were addicted to in Vang Vieng. We saw mounds of localy collected wild mushrooms for sale in the streets, ( have a look at The Markets of Luang Prabang, they are incredible!) yet to please European tastes, they went for the tinned variety, which was a shame.

We’ve ordered Lao style curries and had good and bad, this one was delicious. The traditional Laos sticky rice is heavenly.

There is a cafe called Khmu on the main street, past the palace, that has some great Laos dishes at around 40,000 Kip. We recommend their larp.

Authentic Indian food was a surprise Nisha Restaurant is run by an Indian family and is just past Dara Market.It is very budget friendly and the food is delicious.

Pilgrim’s cafe was a great spot for coffee and smoothies at Rama hotel. They have a children’s play room and a collection of Guinness World Record Books to keep the kids happy. Their menu looks promising, we’ll go back and try today.

What I wanted to say was, if you’re coming to Luang Prabang, have a good hunt around, find the smaller streets behind Dara market and the look for the places the locals eat, there is great food in Luang Prabang for those of us on a tight budget in this stunning little town.

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