More than ten years had passed since my last visit to Laos, and as expected a lot changed. One thing that hasn’t, however, are the bus trips. The mini hellbus I took from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang featured the usual wondering how every drive in this place doesn’t end at the bottom of a ravine, and a desperation to kiss the floor once the vehicle finally, finally came to stand still. On solid ground and not in a ditch. Gorgeous scenery, but if you have Valium and plan on overland travel in SE Asia, well, pack it so you can focus on the breathtaking scenery without seeing your life flash before your eyes around every bend (and there are a lot of those).
Vegan eateries in this UNESCO World Heritage city are more prolific than in Vientiane and Vang Vieng, with enough on offer to keep folks looking for vegetarian food in Luang Prabang sated. I found two places right around the night market that are worth a visit.
This nice spot right by the night market is absolutely in place to meet the tourist palate, but they have a vegan menu and that’s always a bonus. I ate here on a few occasions, the first for a late night warmer of watercress soup because in Luang Prabang the temperature drops to a freezing 22 degrees Celsius once the sun drops. The soup didn’t look pretty, but the hot and salty broth with slightly bitter local greens was exactly what I needed to fool myself into thinking I wouldn’t get hypothermia.
The fried tofu with tomato was basically chunks of tofu in a sauce you could also put on pasta, which isn’t a bad thing but also isn’t exciting. It’s perfect if you’re craving subtler home flavours.
Another visit was for a late breakfast, and they got my order wrong but the phat king tofu they brought was still vegan and I didn’t have time to spare, so ate it anyway. The soup was a rich coconut base with a mild ginger favour, lots of onion, plus mushrooms and fried tofu. It would be a good order for anyone who doesn’t love very bold regional flavours.
I was the least cool diner every time I went to Indigo, which I don’t understand because I also have sunglasses that are bigger than my face.
While I only witnessed the one, others have mentioned spotting multiple vegetarian buffet food stalls at the night market. Maybe those vendors were ill or on holiday or bored of how ridiculous that market can be and decided to stay home and watch Friends reruns. Anyway, the food was okay and piss cheap. Rice, noodles, som tam, various battered and fried vegetables, spring rolls, and plenty more. Plus it’s hysterical to watch backpackers complain when they can’t get free refills on their plate that cost them about one US dollar.
Sorry, but my pictures of night market food are naff so instead here’s a cat sticking its tongue out at me.