Fresh herbs, hearty soups and powerful, funky fish flavors are just a few of the hallmarks of Laotian food, a cuisine that isn’t widely represented in the world but is showcased at a number of excellent restaurants in some big cities like NYC, Seattle, London, Sydney, or Melbourne.

Papaya salad, beef jerky, sticky rice and laap, or larb, are examples of typical Laotian dishes - there’s a commonality with Northern Thai food that frequently causes the two cuisines to be lumped together. Lao food, though, has unique characteristics that give it a flavor all its own.

Below is our recommended list of restaurants in Laos & some big cities where you can really enjoy the authentic Laos food.

Best Laos restaurants inside Laos

Laos restaurants in Vientiane

Khop Chai Deu

Khop Chai Deu occupies a colonial building close to the Nam Phu Fountain in central Vientiane. A favourite spot among expats, backpackers and tourists, the restaurant serves authentic Laos and international dishes – opt for the set menus of traditional Lao cuisine 

The Discovery Lao set takes you through various short courses of typical Lao dishes with a glass of rice whiskey, while the Champasak set includes a sweet treat – mango with coconut rice. If you’re craving western comfort food, Khop Chai Deu offers 9 types of pizzas, including a vegetarian option. 

  • Location: 54 Sethathirat Road, Namphou, Vientiane, Laos
  • Open: Daily from 7am to 11.30pm
  • Phone: +856 21 263 829

Lao Kitchen

Lao Kitchen offers set menus that let you enjoy a variety of authentic local fare in one seating. Opt for a set of 12 (180,000 kip) Lao dishes, which include Pakse-style pork sausage, Luang Prabang-style stew, grilled Mekong fish, and bamboo shoot stew. There’s also plenty of vegetarian options for those who prefer a meatless meal in Vientiane. For dessert, try Lao Kitchen’s sticky rice with mango (or banana) and coconut milk.

  • Location: Rue Hengboun, Vientiane 0100, Laos
  • Open: Daily from 11am to 10pm
  • Phone: +856 21 254 332

Kualao Restaurant

Kualao Restaurant serves Lao cuisine in an upscale setting, occupying a yellow-washed colonial mansion in central Vientiane. The menu includes som tam (papaya salad), deep-fried Mekong River fish, spring rolls, and handmade Laotian sausage. You can enjoy traditional Lao dance and music performance by the National Dance Troupe – arrive early or call in advance (and ask to be seated close to the stage).

  • Location: Rue Samsenthai, Vientiane, Laos
  • Open: Daily from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 10pm
  • Phone: +856 21 215 777

Doi Ka Noi

It took one meal for Doi Ka Noi to become one of our favourite restaurants in Laos. With a menu that changes daily (check the restaurant's Facebook page at around 8.30am to see what's available), the dishes here range from Lao standards to regional specialities most of us have never heard of, with something to appeal to both newbies and grizzled foodies.

The dining room has a charming old-school vibe with handsome food-related photos adorning the walls.

  • Location: Sisangvong Road, Vientiane
  • Open: Daily from 11am to 9pm
  • Phone: +856 20 55 898 959

Makphet Restaurant

Set in a French colonial building, Makphet is a family-friendly restaurant with a warm vibe. It features a spacious dining room and large garden for kids to play. The restaurant offers a mix of dining options; artisanal wood tables, cozy banquet seating, communal tables fashioned from reclaimed wood, and comfortable wooden chairs. An outdoor seating area in the lush garden is also available. Casual touches like chalkboards announce special items and daily specials. Private dining options will also be available.

  • Location: No. 78, Ban Inpeng, Vat Chanh Tha, Vientiane, Laos
  • Open: Daily from 11:00 am to 10:30 pm
  • Phone: +856 21 260 587

Laos restaurants in Luang Prabang

Tamarind Luang Prabang

Tamarind restaurant Luang Prabang is a great place to start your adventure with Lao cuisine. Run by Lao national Joy, and his Australian wife Caroline, Tamarind aims to introduce Lao specialties to visitors in a welcoming homely environment.

Tamarind offers a range of set menus featuring several dishes to introduce you to the variety of Lao cuisine, and every Friday they hold a Barbecue Fish Feast – a convivial hands-on shared meal, where they demonstrate eating etiquette and explain the significance of the event.

  • Location: Ban Wat Sene, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
  • Open: Monday–Saturday, 11am–10pm
  • Phone: +856 71 213128

Khaiphaen

Khaiphaen is a popular training restaurant run by NGO Friends International that operates a network of inspired venues across the region. The menu is Lao with a creative twist and includes buffalo carpaccio, five-spices pork belly and a pea and apple eggplant curry. The shakes are also creative. And do save space for the delicious desserts. Happy hour runs from 3pm to 6pm.

  • Location: 100 Sisavang Vatana Road, Ban Wat Nong, Luang Prabang
  • Open: Monday–Saturday, 11am–10pm
  • Phone: +856 30 51 55 221

Manda de Laos

This stunning restaurant is set in a beautiful lantern-festooned garden flanking a lily pond that is pretty by day, but enchanting by night. The menu of classic Lao cuisine includes a fun DIY láhp to make using a medley of herbs and spices, as well as delicious offerings such as slow-cooked duck, grilled river fish and chicken curry.

  • Location: 100 Sisavang Vatana Road, Ban Wat Nong (Between the French Institute and the Mekong River), Luang Prabang
  • Open: Daily from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
  • Phone: +856 30 51 55 221

Xieng Thong Phonsavanh Restaurant

Located on the end of the Luang Prabang peninsula, this no-frills restaurant, that has seating on both sides of the road (the seating section overlooking the Mekong is great), serves what I think is one of the best meals you can eat in Luang Prabang. The owner serves a masterfull, “jaew kee pa,” – a chili dip with fish eggs, to which he said – “You haven’t been to Luang Prabang until you’ve eaten this.” It’s that good. This is my favorite restaurant mentioned in this Luang Prabang travel guide.

  • Location: Souvanhnakhamphong (Khem Khong) Rd, Luang Prabang 0600 Laos
  • Open: Daily from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
  • Phone: +856 71 252 835

3 Nagas

Feast on succulent Lao cuisine to the gentle sounds of traditional folk music in a cosy indoor bistro or al fresco courtyard. Serving food fit for kings, 3 Nagas Restaurant upholds Luang Prabang's long-standing reputation for culinary excellence. 

This restaurant serves traditional Laotian cuisine in a beautiful setting and boasts a fantastic wine list curated by a French sommelier.  Quite simply - I go here when I want to treat myself to delicious food, fantastic wine and an enlivening atmosphere.

  • Location: Vat Nong Village, 0600 LUANG PRABANG, Lao people's democratic republic
  • Open: Daily from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
  • Phone: (+856) 71/253888

Blue Lagoon Restaurant

Blue Lagoon Restaurant is situated on the peninsula between the Mekong and the Nam Khan river.

Inside the “Pavillion” and the “Garden” with a view onto rushy trees and a quiet local ambience surrouned by the beautiful Lao house style, the Blue Lagoon offers you soups, salads and succulent dishes of meat, fish and Laotian food. The speciality originates from Switzerland: Rösti with “Zürich-Geschnetzelte”, Cheese fondue and another fusion Menu which created by the Chef

Walking up the road, you find yourselves in the night-market with an amazing variety of handicraft and local goods. Off this road leads the entrance into the Park with a temple and the Royal Palace which now is a museum with a display of ancient and modern objects of value.

  • Location: Blue Lagoon Restaurant, Ounheun Rd, Luang Prabang
  • Open: Daily from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
  • Phone: + 856 20 59 25 25 25

Laos restaurants outside Laos

Sticky rice, laap, papaya salad: this is Thai food, right? Not originally. These well-known Asian dishes that have traveled the globe to appear on Thai restaurant menus everywhere are actually Laotian in origin.

You might not have known that, because compared to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, Laos has a relatively low profile when it comes to cuisine. To overlook the food in this mountainous, landlocked, stunning country, however, would be a huge mistake. Spicy, bitter, and incredibly fun to eat, Laotian cuisine is worth your full attention.

Below is the list of recommended restaurants in some big cities that you must try if you have chance.

Laos restaurants in NYC

Khe Yo Restaurant

  • Location: 157 Duane St, New York, NY 10013, b/t Broadway & Hudson St, TriBeCa
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 9PM
  • Phone: + 212 587-1089

Pho Thai Lao Kitchen

  • Location: 219 Maywood Ave, Maywood, NJ 07607
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 9PM
  • Phone: +1 201 712-0700

Hug Esan

  • Location: 77-16 Woodside Ave, Elmhurst, NY 11373
  • Open: Daily from 12:00PM – 9PM
  • Phone: +1 929 328-0392

Krok Brooklyn

  • Location: 117 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
  • Open: Daily from 12:00PM – 10PM
  • Phone: +1 718 858-8898

Here is the full list of Laos restaurant in NYC if you want further exploration

Laos restaurants in Seattle

Viengthong Restaurant

  • Location: 2820 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98144
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 9PM
  • Phone: +1 206 725-3884

Vientiane Grocery

  • Location: 3828 S Graham St, Unit C, Seattle, WA 98118
  • Open: Daily from 09:30AM – 7PM
  • Phone: +1 206 723-3160

Taurus OX

  • Location: 1523 E Madison St, Ste 101, Seattle, WA 98122
  • Open: Daily from 12:00PM – 8PM
  • Phone: +1 206 972-0075

Sabai Sabai Lao & Thai Cuisine

  • Location: 1120 164th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98087
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 9PM
  • Phone: +1 425 742-9155

Here is the full list of Laos restaurant in Seattle if you want further exploration

Laos restaurants in Las Vegas

Laos Thai Street Food

  • Location: 860 E Twain Ave, Ste 121, Las Vegas, NV 89169
  • Open: Daily from 10:00AM – 9PM
  • Phone: +1 702 293-3551

Laos Asia Market

  • Location: 3050 E Desert Inn Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89121
  • Open: Daily from 9:00AM – 7PM
  • Phone: +1 702 650-0245

The Spice Is Right

  • Location: Henderson, NV 89002
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 9PM
  • Phone: +1 702 493-9221

Laos restaurants in Raleigh

Bida Manda

  • Location: 222 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601
  • Open: Monday - Saturday | Lunch from 11:30AM – 2PM | Dinner from 5:00PM – 10:00PM (until 12:00AM on Friday & Saturday)
  • Phone: +1 919 829-9999

Yin Dee

  • Location: 10970 Chapel Hill Rd, Ste 106, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Open: Monday - Friday from 11:00AM – 08:00PM
  • Phone: +1 919 237-3023

Sticky Rice

  • Location: 927 Durham Rd, Ste 107, Wake Forest, NC 27587
  • Open: Monday - Saturday from 05:00PM – 09:00PM
  • Phone: +1 919 554-8189

Laos restaurants in Washington, DC

Thip Khao

  • Location: 3462 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
  • Open: Tuesday - Sunday from 05:00PM – 08:00PM
  • Phone: +1 202 387-5426

Laos in town

  • Location: 250 K St NE, Washington, DC 20002
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 10:00PM
  • Phone: +1 202 864-6620

Hanumanh

  • Location: 1604 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
  • Open: Monday + Wednesday – Sunday (Closed Tuesday) from 04:00PM – 08:00PM
  • Phone: TBA

Hanumanh Restaurant, DC

Padaek

  • Location: 6395 Seven Corners Ctr, Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday (Closed Monday) from 12:00PM – 08:00PM
  • Phone: +1 703 533-9480

Laos restaurants in London

Laos café

  • Location: 60 Chandos Place, London WC2N 4HG, United Kingdom
  • Open: Daily from 12:00PM – 11:00PM
  • Phone: +44 20 3740 4748

Home

  • Location: 2 Bethnal Green Road, East London, London E1 6GY, United Kingdom
  • Open: Daily from 12:00PM – 11:00PM
  • Phone: TBA

Laos restaurants in Sydney

Green Peppercorn

  • Location: Inside Civic Hotel, Level 1, 388 Pitt St, Sydney New South Wales 2000, Australia
  • Open: Daily | Lunch from 11:30AM – 2PM | Dinner from 5:00PM – 10:00PM 
  • Phone: +61 2 8080 7043

Lao City Thai

  • Location: Shop 10, 35 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket New South Wales 2000, Australia
  • Open: Daily from 11:00AM – 11:00PM 
  • Phone: +61 2 9212 1080

Holy Basil

  • Location: Shark Hotel, 127 Liverpool St, Sydney New South Wales 2000, Australia
  • Open: Daily | Lunch from 11:30AM – 2PM | Dinner from 5:00PM – 11:00PM
  • Phone: +61 2 9283 8284

Green Peppercorn, Sydney

Laos restaurants in Melbourne

Noodle House by Lao-Luangprabang

  • Location: Level 2, Shop 4, 500 Elizabeth St, Melbourne Victoria 3000, Australia
  • Open: Daily from 11:30AM – 09:00PM
  • Phone: +61 3 9639 2245

Yim Yam Thai Laos Restaurant

  • Location: 415 Mount Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale Victoria 3032, Australia
  • Open: Daily from 11:30AM – 09:00PM
  • Phone: +61 3 9372 8099

Yim Yam Thai Laos Restaurant

  • Location: 415 Mount Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale Victoria 3032, Australia
  • Open: Daily from 11:30AM – 09:00PM
  • Phone: +61 3 9372 8099
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My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!

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SIMILAR BLOG ARTICLES

The core difference between Thai green papaya salad and Laos green papaya salad is the liquid component of the recipe along with the topping.

Thai papaya salad, referred to as Som Tam, uses mainly fish sauce as the flavoring condiment and is generally topped with crushed roasted peanut. 

Laos papaya salad, referred to as Tam Mak Hoong, uses fermented crab dip (nam pu) and padaek as flavoring condiments

The classic green papaya salad is loved throughout southeast Asia in various forms, but the two most popular are the Thai and Lao style papaya salad. 

Padaek, sometimes known as padek, or Lao fish sauce or pla-ra in Thailand, is a traditional Lao condiment made from pickled or fermented fish that has been cured. It is thicker and more seasoned than the fish sauce more commonly seen throughout Thailand and Vietnam, often containing chunks of fish. The fermentation takes a long time, giving padaek an aroma similar to cheeses like Époisses.

Unlike other versions of fish sauce in Southeast Asia, padaek is made from freshwater fish, owing to the landlocked nature of the former kingdom of Lan Xang. Padaek is used in many dishes, most notably tam maak hoong, a spicy Lao papaya salad.

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In Laos, food is the most important activity throughout the day. In the local language, it is quite common for people to greet each other by immediately asking, “Have you eaten food?” (“Kin khao laeo bor?”). Food is often the topic of many conversations, especially when eating and sharing dishes between friends and family. Additionally, Lao people take great passion in sharing traditional dishes with curious travelers.

Laotian dishes are very similar to Thailand and Vietnam in terms of flavor and ingredients, which often consist of fresh herb, spices, noodles, and rice. Khao niaw (sticky rice) is a staple food among the Laotians. Traditionally steamed in a cone-shaped bamboo basket, the rice is then placed in a covered basket, where it is eaten by hand alongside spicy soup, and meat-based dishes. Eating in Laos is also a communal activity, where dishes are shared by all at the table. 

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Laos street food is vibrant, colorful, packed with herbs and chilies, and the combinations of ingredients are guaranteed to thrill your taste-buds.

From Luang Prabang to Vientiane, you will not believe how complex, yet refreshing at the same time, the scene of Laos street food can be.

From scrumptious sweets to deliciously charred meat-on-a-stick, each afternoon around dust multitudes of food carts converge to Vientiane’s kerbsides peddling cheap and flavorful eats to the hungry masses.

The street food scene of Luang Prabang will attract you at the first sight once you step into the colorful night market. The smell, the taste, or the various dishes on offers all combine to make it something you cannot deny.

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Larb! Larb! Larb!

If you have already traveled to Laos, you will realize that it is one of the highlighted dishes of your trip.

Larb is basically a salad - made out of meat. (So, like, the best KIND of salad, right?). It’s a meat salad from Laos that has made its way into Thailand and other areas of Southeast Asia, as well as many countries in the world.

Like other dishes in Southeast Asian cooking, the dish combines savory flavors with fresh ones - fresh herbs like cilantro, scallions, and mint, and fresh lime juice. The addition of toasted ground rice also adds texture and nuttiness to the final dish.

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Sticky rice is the staple food of any Laotian meal. It is called “khao niew” and made from glutinous rice. It contains a higher sugar level than normal rice, which gives it its stickiness.

Despite the name (glutinous rice), Laotian sticky rice is gluten free and therefore great for people with celiac. Sticky rice is steamed and traditionally served in small cute bamboo baskets in Laos called “lao aep khao”.

Sticky rice is a traditional Lao and Thai base dish that is served and paired another delicious main meal. You typically do not eat sticky rice on its own unless it’s been transformed into a dessert that is doused in coconut milk or sugar (if you’ve had Lao food, what I’m referring to here is purple rice). 

Sticky rice is a transparent and opaque rice that requires soaking overnight for preparations. Once cooked, the rice “sticks” to each other, and you use your hands to eat the rice by forming delicious little balls of rice and putting it into your mouth!

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Experiencing all that Lao cuisine has to offer is not an experience for the faint of heart. Laos’ famous fermented fish sauce, padek, has a distinct fragrance. Insects ranging from silkworms to ants and crickets can be found on many menus. Raw and cooked meats from all manner of animals are grilled and served on a stick or sautéed and served with rice. 

Ah, while we are learning about Laos traditional dishes, why don't we take a break and take a bite of Laos food history and culture.

In case you want to move directly to the dishes that you prefer, just navigate via the below table of content.

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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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