We all love food, especially street food. Food is the most exciting thing for me when it comes to travel. Yes, part of it is the culture, the history, but honestly, I would come back to a place because I like its food culture. At first, I was thinking that Laos has no local food, it’s like the fusion of Thai and Vietnam. Especially in Vientiane, the capital located next to the Mekong River – aka Thai-Laos border. Well, I almost got it wrong until I came to Luang Prabang, but let’s not get ahead of the story. This is my Laos experience – Street Food, night market and local vendors in Vientiane.
Street Food, Night Market and local vendors in Vientiane
It’s easy to find places in Vientiane with Google Maps, however, you have to really be careful with their business hours. It was around 3:30PM in the afternoon, both night markets open at 5PM so we decided to visit a promising local food shop, turned out they were closing since 3PM. Many restaurants also open at 5-6PM in the evening. We had to buy 2 roties on the street for 10,000 Kip/ roti to get some energy.
On the way to night markets, our first stop is a local food vendor named ST-Khua Tam Zap, food is served in big portion, the menu looks exactly like Thai food but the taste is similar to Vietnamese. the price is reasonable from 15,000-20,000-25,000 Kip/ dish. We wished we didn’t eat the roti…
Ban Anou night market
We’re full, but we wanted to see the local night market before heading to the riverside where Vientiane night market is located. So we went to Ban Anou night market.
This is a heaven for grilled meat, fish, chicken, duck, pork, intestine, sausages,… all vendors are selling similar things. Motorbikes move around blowing dust and mix them with the smoke from charcoal fire.
There is 1 restaurant in the middle of the street where you can also order some food and drinks. But this is the place where you buy take-away food and enjoy it somewhere else. We definitely will come back to Ban Anou next time.
Vientiane night market on New Year Eve
It’s about 10-15 minutes to go to Vientiane night market from Ban Anou. Quite a surprise that there are many Korean restaurants nearby, we also noticed many Korean aunties and uncles were jogging, doing exercise along the coast. This is a loooooong night market located inside Chao Anouvong park where you can buy clothes, souvenirs, handcrafts, paintings… 1 side of the park is the river coast and the other side is street food stalls.
We’re not sure how it goes in daily life, but it was pretty busy on New Year Eve. They set up a stage with big lights in the riverside square, music was on until midnight, of course, and countdown. We stopped by a street vendor where they have grilled fish, chicken, pork, intestine… and order some food with beer Laos.
Price is not so cheap, except for beer Laos.
Food stick: 10,000 Kip per stick
Normal dish or grilled dish: 20,000 – 30,000 Kip per dish
Beer Laos: 15,000 Kip/ big bottle
Even though I really like the atmosphere when we sat on the pavement to enjoy the night, we would NOT suggest to have street food here if you have a weak stomach.
You might want to try something less smoky, cooked food such as: fried spring rolls, noodles, steam buns…
Or get in the food square on the riverside area – Vientiane Night Street
Toward the end of the park, where the statue of King Anouvong statue is located. This area is kind of new and modern which attracts more local than the tourist.
Something fancy? Try riverside restaurants along the Mekong river
Keep walking along the coast toward the airport, you will find some riverside restaurants selling seafood, open space, many local families and groups dine here. This is a good spot to enjoy food and drink while watching the sunset, far away from the night market and less crowded.
Authentic Vietnamese food – Pho & Bun Cha Hanoi
During day-time, you should probably stop by this Vietnamese restaurant to have a taste of Vietnamese food. The chef is Vietnamese, she actually is the mother of the receptionist who will take your order and make drinks for you.
Price is very reasonable and don’t be fooled by the menu when it comes to food portion. Small is good enough unless you are very very hungry.
After the first Laos experience – Street Food, Night Market and local vendors. We left Vientiane with an impression that we had not experienced Laos cuisine in a proper way and hoped Phonsavan would have something more distinct and unique.