Phonsavan is a mountain town, it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of entertaining and what attracts most of the tourists is the famous Plain of Jars which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. But you should definitely visit Phonsavan night market for some local street food and enjoy the local atmosphere.
What we never forget during our trip in Phonsavan was the moment when a minority woman shared her homemade lunch with us.
Phonsavan Night Market
We followed the direction on Google map and found the night market, it was 5:30pm. The locals are preparing their stalls, tables and chairs had been arranged neatly in the middle of the market. We went to a local food shop next to the market and was offered a Pho (Vietnamese rice noodles) but the noodles was not Pho.
It looks just like Hu Tieu (or Kwai Teow in Chinese) – rice noodles in soup with crispy pork. Nonetheless, it was delicious and only cost 15,000 Kip.
Nearly 6PM, the lights are on, locals started coming to the market, young people and families. Everyone was wearing thick jacket as it can get to 15-20 C degree there at night.
Phonsavan Night Market – BBQ and Hotpot Buffet
Just get in and pick anything you like, price varies from 5,000 to 15,000 Kip per stick/dish. The staff of the stall where you pick the food will set up the hotpot or a BBQ plate at your table.
Nothing is better than having BBQ and hotpot in cold weather. They all look attractive, delicious, especially the mixed salad, you can choose the ingredients and the owner will mix them together with sour, spicy sauce. (As I am writing this article, my mind cannot stop drooling)
Notice: be prepared if you have a weak stomach
We were so full but the food still looked very inviting. At the corners, there is an entertainment stall where you can try to hit the balloons with some darts. Show your skill to get a prize!
On our way back to the hotel, we found a shop selling wonton noodles which is similar to Thai and Vietnam. Price is 15,000 Kip/ portion, same price in Thai.
In my mind, wonton noodles originally comes from Hong Kong, we can find it in every Chinatown around the world, it has become popular in South East Asian countries.
Having lunch with ethnic minority people
As we got out of the Plain of Jars site No. 2, we stopped at the entrance to ask for direction to the nearby market. As soon as we arrive, the same ethnic minority woman at the ticket counter invited us to have lunch with her without hesitation.
I tried to use my broken Thai to listen to what she said and it seemed that she has someone bring food to her every day. She talked a lot but I couldn’t understand much. I finally understood what she had on the table:
– Pig brain steamed with dill
– Boiled pork
– Chili paste and sticky rice
It was very simple but tasted delicious, rich and flavorful. She asked us to eat more but we couldn’t do that even though we like it very much. We will never forget her sincerity and happiness during our lunch. Next time when we come back to Phonsavan, we will visit her again and bring more food to share with her.
After a memorable trip in Phonsavan, we continued to Luang Prabang where we really enjoyed Laos cuisine but also had an incident with street food.