If someone knows where all the vegan and vegetarian restaurants are in Luang Prabang, please tell me so I can go back there and stuff my face!
Stu and I first came to Luang Prabang in August 2011 during our first visit to Laos when it was wet season and quiet with few tourists.
It was just as much of a joy then to cycle around the pretty streets of the old city taking in picturesque views of the Mekong River and the many decorative Wats dotted around town.
One afternoon we were on a relaxing bike ride down Th Kingkitsaret, next to the Nam Khan River and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a sign saying ‘Vegetarian Food’.
It was a small café with 2 tables inside next to the kitchen and a few tables opposite by the river. As you can imagine, this really made my day! The menu consisted of typical Lao food with vegetarian substitutes for the usual meat.
As a strict vegan I would prefer to only eat in vegan or vegetarian restaurants. I instantly get more choice and have the comfort of knowing that no meat of fish were cooked in the kitchen.
All of our meals there were delicious and authentic. My favourite meal was breakfast, when I would have vegan Lao noodle soup, which came with a plate stacked high with fresh greens, yum!
This time round (January 2013), on our second visit to Luang Prabang, I was excited about going back to the same vegetarian restaurant and hoped to eat all my meals there. I had searched for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Luang Prabang on the internet and other people had raved about how good this restaurant was as well.
Imagine my disappointment when I cycled out in search of my trusty vegetarian restaurant to find no existence of it ever being there! Perhaps it was too much off the main drag or maybe they couldn’t afford to keep it open. Whatever the reason, it’s a sad loss for vegan and vegetarian visitors and locals in Luang Prabang.
I also read on Happy Cow and Wikitravel that the Night Food Stalls had one food stall advertising vegetarian food and another saying ‘végétalien’ (vegan). I couldn’t find these stalls in August 2011 and I still can’t find them now, so I presume they are no longer there 🙁
Most tourist restaurants in Laos have vegan and vegetarian options, but it’s never as appealing as a vegan or vegetarian restaurant in this meat loving country.
I have still enjoyed our second visit to Luang Prabang (it’s so pretty it’s hard not to), but my eating experience has been a bit more difficult than last time.
If you know any vegetarian restaurants in Luang Prabang or restaurants with good options for vegans, please share details!