"Laos food: Pakse" was last updated on May 08, 2013
What's so special about Laotian food?
The staple dish in Laotian food culture, is sticky rice served in a basket ('Khao Niao' in Lao). Once you cook sticky rice (also called glutinous rice) it gets sticky and then steamed in a bamboo basket. The result is sticky, but dry rice.
The best part about it is that you eat it with your hands. It can be weird digging your fingers into the basket, but once you've tried it, you can't stop! ;-) Hell, you don't even need any side dishes. It works as "snacks" too.
But normally, sticky rice is complemented with meat or fried or grilled fish, and some vegetables. It's a simple meal, but damn it tastes good!
Important ingredients in Laotian food are lemongrass, Lao fish sauce (padaek) and galangal.
Morning market in town offers cheap fruits, vegetables, hot soups, barbequed chicken, sticky rice, fried banana chips and so much more. And it's so cheap!
Like, sticky rice with some grilled chicken cost about 7000 Kip!
But most importantly, fried banana "cakes"!!! I got a bag of those on my 25th birthday (and a bottle of Lao whisky) Awh... I miss those!
Stop by the huge food market outside Pakxe on your way to the Bolaven Plateau!
They have a vast variety of fresh fruit, meat, vegetables and so much more! It's impossible to try everything (even if you want to), but you should at least have a go with their juicy papayas, sweet pineapple and lichee!
Average prices for meals: Up to 12.000 Kip (around $1)
Noodle soups: 1000-2000 Kip
Beer Lao: 3000-4000 Kip
Soft drinks (Coke etc): 2000 Kip
Dao Heuang market is the largest market in Pakse and it shouldn't be hard to find what you're looking for since it's divided into different zones; like the clothing section and the food section.
Where: 2 km from Pakse downtown
There's a small restaurant with a nice garden and outdoor seating area (I can't remember the name !) You can sit outside on wooden chairs, and have your morning coffee and breakfast. They also have Thai food and delicious fruit juices.
On my 25th birthday, I went to this coffee shop with some backpackers I met there. A nice birthday lunch with some really cool people. I even got Lao whiskey as a gift!
It's located in a side street of Road 13, near Lankham Hotel.
Average price for meals: $1-3
Jasmin Indian restaurant is just across Lankham Hotel. It offers Indian and Malay dishes at reasonable prices. If you want some quick snack, baguette vendors are found near Jasmine restaurant.
Otherwise, Nazim Indian Restaurant (next to Phonosavan Hotel and Jasmin) can tempt you with mouth-running veggie samosas! Most meals cost between 10.000-20.000 Kip. Not bad huh?
Tour Lao Cafe/Restaurant is located on Road 5 on the southern end of the market plaza, and serves excellent fried fish meals, burgers and fries. You can sit outside in a lovely setting and listen to a local music band, playing soft Lao music.
We went here for dinner on my birthday, and it was nice and awfully relaxing to just drink cold Lao beers while listening to their music.
Champasak Plaza Shopping Center
In town you'll find Champasak Plaza Shopping Center where they sell everything from clothing to household items. It's so cheap that you almost don't need to bargain! It's near Road 5.
I bought small elephant toys and make-up cases in several colors ($0,5 each).
But if you want real shopping in Laos, you should do it in Luang Prabang and Vientiane where you can find a better variety.
Talat Dao Market
The new Talat Dao Heuang Market near the Japanese Bridge. You'll find clothes, toys, tobacco, CDs, fresh food, snacks, spices and much more.
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