The Mekong River originates in China, runs through the middle of Laos, then along the border of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, through the middle of Cambodia, and finally enters the South China Sea in southern Vietnam. My first day in Luang Prabang, I sat for a few hours at a lovely, quiet, authentic waterfront restaurant enjoying a couple of drinks and a delicious Lao beef and bamboo shoot soup. Honestly, among the best things I've ever eaten!
Speaking of authentic--I'm not sure, since the menu included English, but I saw loads of locals in this place, across the street from my hotel in Vientiane: Lao chicken rice soup.
Many places in the world have their specialties--Beijing Duck springs to mind, or Georgia barbeque, or Kobe beef ... Lauang Prabang has a particular variety of sausage. Hell, I hear you say, sausage goes back to the freaking Romans, big effing deal! Yeah, you are correct as far as you go, but I bet you've never had Luang Prabang sausage, have you?
You have to trust me on this. Luang Prabang style sausage is the best you'll ever have. The eating street is where you'll find the real deal. There it is in the middle of the table.
You point out what you want, pay your money, and sit down at the nearest table. The side dish that comes with the sausage is Hmong-style pickled vegetables. It's basically Lao kimchi. Be careful! Hidden within my particular serving was a whitish pepper that is the hottest thing I've ever eaten my life. Still, it's absolutely brilliant! I had this dish also in Vientiane at the fine place near the Lamphu fountain I mentioned before, Khop Chai Deu:
No hot-as-fuck pepper hidden in their Hmong veggies. Another delicious meal I had there was Lao beef along with fried green beans. Laos is the only place I've been in Asia which offers string or green beans, like you might get back home. Though they're always stir fried. Which is not a bad thing.
The typical LP eating street experience is to either pick what you want and pay accordingly, or to get the "buffet", one plate, one serving, one price:
As a young youth in Thailand, I remember well street food super-thin pancakes made in woks, filled with Carnation sweetened condensed milk, folded over into cones. Not so much woks anymore, just flat griddles. Mangoes, bananas, Nutella, etc:
And here is coconut "pancake", lovely:
And as I crack a Korean maekchu, I end my blogging about my trip to Laos! Thanks for visiting my patch, Dear Reader, and Happy Travels!