Exploring Vientiane: Local Cuisine, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Vientiane: Local Cuisine, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Vientiane: Local Cuisine, Restaurants & Recipes

Introduction to Vientiane's Cuisine

Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, offers a delightful culinary experience for food enthusiasts. The city's cuisine is predominantly influenced by traditional Laotian and Thai flavors, creating a unique blend of dishes that will satisfy any palate. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, Vientiane has something to offer for every budget and taste preference.

Must-Try Dishes

When in Vientiane, be sure to sample the following must-try dishes:

  • Laap: This traditional Lao dish consists of minced meat or fish mixed with herbs, lime juice, fish sauce, and spices. It is typically served with sticky rice.
  • Tam Mak Houng: Also known as Green Papaya Salad, this refreshing dish is made from shredded unripe papaya, tomatoes, garlic, chili, lime juice, and fish sauce. It offers a perfect balance of flavors and is a popular choice among locals.
  • Khao Poon: A delicious and spicy noodle soup made with rice vermicelli, red curry paste, coconut milk, and various herbs. It is often garnished with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime.
  • Or Lam: This traditional Lao stew is made with a combination of vegetables, meat (usually buffalo or pork), herbs, and spices. It is simmered for several hours, allowing the flavors to develop and create a rich and hearty dish.
  • Mok Pa: A popular Lao dish consisting of fish fillets wrapped in banana leaves and steamed with a mixture of herbs, spices, and chili. The result is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is commonly enjoyed with sticky rice.

Vientiane offers a wide range of dining options, from street food to upscale restaurants. Here are a few popular establishments worth visiting:

1. Kong View Restaurant

A riverside restaurant known for its beautiful views of the Mekong River and the sunset. Kong View offers a menu that combines traditional Lao cuisine with a modern twist. Be sure to try their signature dish, Mekong Fish Curry.

2. Makphet Restaurant

A social enterprise restaurant that serves traditional Lao dishes prepared by underprivileged youth. Makphet offers a unique dining experience while supporting a good cause. Don't miss their popular dish, Khao Soi.

3. Street Food Stalls

Exploring the street food stalls in Vientiane is a must for any food lover. You'll find a variety of local delicacies such as grilled meat skewers, noodle soups, and fresh fruit shakes. Don't be afraid to try something new!

Recipes to Try at Home

If you want to recreate the flavors of Vientiane in your own kitchen, here are a few recipes to try:

1. Laap Recipe

  1. Combine minced meat or fish, lime juice, fish sauce, shallots, spring onions, mint leaves, and chili in a bowl.
  2. Mix well and let it marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Serve with sticky rice and enjoy!

2. Tam Mak Houng Recipe

  1. Shred unripe papaya and combine with sliced tomatoes, crushed garlic, chili, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Toss the ingredients well and let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Serve as a refreshing salad or as a side dish.

3. Khao Poon Recipe

  1. Cook rice vermicelli according to package instructions and set aside.
  2. In a pot, heat red curry paste with coconut milk until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken or pork, fish sauce, sugar, and chicken broth. Simmer until the meat is tender.
  4. Remove from heat and add lime juice, fish sauce, and fresh herbs.
  5. Serve the soup over the cooked rice vermicelli and garnish with bean sprouts and lime wedges.


Vientiane's cuisine offers a diverse range of flavors and dishes that are sure to delight any food lover. Whether you choose to dine at a high-end restaurant or explore the local street food scene, you'll have the opportunity to experience the authentic taste of Laos. So, pack your bags and embark on a culinary adventure in Vientiane!