Tamarind Restaurant is true to it’s claim: ’We are not a regular restaurant. We aim to introduce you to Laos’ relatively unknown cuisine by explaining and demonstrating Lao culinary customs.
It’s great to be able to try ‘taster plates as a light sampler of Lao flavours and textures.’
The sweet sticky rice with coconut palm sugar sauce is the best ever.
It has a lovely Nam Khan riverside setting, good prices and great, interesting food.
The drinks are also excellent.
Granitas $AUD 3.70 ($AUD 2.20 non-alcoholic, also lovely)
‘A refreshing, crushie ice slushie-style drink with a vodka kick’
Best to least
Watermelon and Chilli
Honey and Ginger
Lime and Lemongrass
Rosella and Lime (not so great)
Beer Lao15,000 kip ($AUD 2.20) for 600ml
Lao Coffee is 9,000 kip and served local style in true Tamarind commitment to authentic regional cuisine. The menu says ‘Lao coffee is blended with tamarind for a sour sweet blend. Different to western coffee, it does not have a strong caffeine kick. We serve it Lao style with a bottom layer of sweet [sweetened condensed] milk.’
Good cooking classes are also available, but these fill up fast.
Not as good for food or or as well priced as Le Banneton Cafe, but in a convenient spot near Villa Santi, is Cafe Ban Vat Sene.
It’s a good place to go if you need a break.
Luang Prabang’s particular food specialties are good to try while visiting and include sweet coconut biscuits….
dried buffalo which is good boiled and used in stews and also with sweet chilli dip…..
crispy deep fried Mekong river weed (great with a beer) .
Orlam (stew with plenty of dill)…
Green papaya salad (that differs to the green Papaaya salad as it uses a pungent fermented fish sauce )
smokey eggplant dip…
deep fried mushrooms…..
deep fried bamboo shoots….
and Lao Salad (with a French inspired creamy egg based dressing)
Also, common are laap and red curries with sticky rice as well as the French inspired baguettes and croissants.
Tamarind restaurant and Dyen Sabai restaurant are good spots to try platters of Luang Prabang/Lao specialities…
Dyen Sabai platter
Part of Dyen Sabai’s appeal is it’s open sided hill side setting across the Nam Kham River. Easy to get to when the seasonal bridge is operating, but requires a boat ride across when the bridge is not available (due to high water levels).
Well priced and offering happy hour two for one cocktails until 12-7pm, it has some great food that showcases local specialities. It’s an essential addition to your dinner itinerary and a well chosen Lonely planet top pick.
Entree platter 2 very good for trying a range of Luang Prabang specialties
The grilled lemon fish is a stand out dish but everything is excellent.
Grilled lemon fish with chilli sauce Fried eggplant with pork
Stir fried chicken with basil Minced mushrooms with mint and herbs (also surprisingly very good!)
Best to book in the busy season, but this is easy to do ahead by emailing.
The Luang Prabang Tat Kuang Si waterfalls are amazing and a great half day trip.
The water is beautifully coloured and get for swimming, the forest cool and peaceful, and there’s good cafe (average price, good food) for lunch that overlooks the falls.You can also take your own picnic or buy food from the food stalls at the entrance to the falls.
The chicken in red curry with sticky rice is wonderful (and better than the fish in red curry).
For around $8 AUS (50,000 kip), you can book a seat in a minivan to travel by road ( around 40 mins each way). But the trip may well be best by boat (2hrs one way+ 1hr the other (due to river flow) 40,000 kip including 10 min tuk tuk ride each end) because the minivan is commonly full (even overbooked) making it pretty unpleasant if you end up in the back seat.
Once there, take the path that winds along the falls up to see the long drop at the top (a short, cool walk), then come back down to the picnic tables/cafe and swimming spots. Chnging rooms are provided.
(If you are keen on being the river by boat it is popular to travel from Luang Prabang to Northern Thailand (approx 250,000 kip per person including overnight at Pak Beng, bookable in Luang Prabang through travel agents like Green Discovery)).
The Riverside Barbecue Restuarant, along the Mekong, is a fun spot to try cooking your own meal, Lao style.
It’s good value, good fun and there’s a lovely river view. Go early to get a good table (book if you can) as it’s popular and fills fast.
For 60,000 kip adults 30,000 kip children, you can select from a huge range of meats and seafood, vegetables and noodles to cook at your table, by either barbecuing or cooking in broth.
A wide range of cooked entrees and some icecream and coconut desserts are also available in the price.
Clearly marked on the Lonely Planet map, follow the road from the baguette and fruit shake stalls/post office corner down to the Mekong. Turn right along the Mekong river road and look for the Riverside BBQ Restaurant sign.