The Vegan & Vegetarian Guide to Luang Prabang, Laos!

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian planning a trip to Luang Prabang, then get ready to rejoice!   From yummy coconut pancakes to traditional Laotian laab, you won’t be disappointed.  I’ve just got back from a trip to Laos (and *ahem* stuffing my face) so here’s my round up of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants to try in Luang Prabang ….

A GUIDE TO VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS

FOR AUTHENTIC LAOATION FOOD…

Tamarind

Without a doubt, this was my favourite dining experience during our time in Luang Prabang. With its low emmigrant population, Laotian food doesn’t often get the credit it deserves and is wrongly dismissed as a mere branch off of Thai food. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Laotion food is distinctive for its use of pungent, fresh herbs, is usually dry (no soupey curries here) and always eaten with sticky rice. Tamarind are all about serving authentic, traditional food that gives you an insight into real Laoation cuisine. The tofu laab, which is usually made out of chicken, is essentially the best tofu scramble that you will ever eat. Filled with fragrant herbs and juicy cherry tomatoes, I was in heaven. On another occasion we tried the “Trio of Salads” (pictured above) which was perfect in the stifling heat and turned out to be super filling. They had quite a few vegan and vegetarian options, just be sure to specify “strict vegetarian” if you don’t want to end up with shrimp paste!

WHERE: Nam Khan River Road, Ban Vat Sene, Luang Prabang, Laos
PRICE: $$

FOR THE BEST PAD THAI…

Bamboo Garden Restaurant

Bamboo Garden Restaurant was one of those fluke finds, and we couldn’t believe our luck! Tucked down the side of the Red Cross Sauna, this recently opened restaurant is popular with the expats but lesser known by tourists. It’s run by a wonderful, friendly couple with an outdoor kitchen that makes you feel as though you’re having dinner in someone’s home. Although the menu won’t hit you as immediately vegetarian friendly, Oudone, who runs the restaurant with his wife, speaks English and will make sure he gets your order right. I had the vegetarian pad thai (again, make sure you say no fish / shrimp) which was insanely delicious and SO cheap!

WHERE: 49/3 Ban Visoun. Head to the Red Cross Sauna and you will see the advert pointing to the restaurant. It is literally down a path on the right hand side of the building!
PRICE: $

FOR THE BEST PIZZA…

Pizza Phan

You will need to cross the rickety, rackety bamboo bridge across the Nam Khan to find this, but believe me, it will be worth it. Hidden away on the other side of the river is Pizza Phan, the place to get delicious, stone oven cooked pizzas. Sipping wine over a cheeseless vegetarian pizza in the candle-lit garden is one of my best memories of Luang Prabang. Again, this is an expat favourite, run by a Canadian chef who was more than happy to skip the cheese for me!

WHERE: Phan Luang Village, Kingkitsarath Rd, Luang Prabang, Laos. Cross the bamboo bridge to Phan Luang Village. Head in a straight line and you will pass a small school. Down the side of the school is the path to the restaurant which is tucked behind the back, you will spot it by the row of torches that light the way!
PRICE: $$

AT THE MARKET…

THAT VEGETARIAN BUFFET

A favourite amongst backpackers, the all you can eat vegetarian and vegan buffets in the night market are unrivalled in price at an insane 1500 kip ( about £1).  At the head of the night market, you won’t be able to miss this alley that is crammed full of food stalls. You will have to wade through hoards of people and battle the fumes of barbecued fish and chicken legs, but it will be worth it for the huge array of delicious vegetarian food on offer. Further down the market on the left hand side is another buffet that is all vegan. Although it has less variety, there is open air seating which is a great place to meet other travellers. I’ve read that some people have become sick from eating at these buffets but we ate here quite a few times and were always fine!

FOR A SWEET FIX

These accidentally vegan coconut pancakes, or  “Khanom Krok”, are essentially heaven tucked up in a banana leaf. For about 50p, you get about five of these little pieces of deliciousness and they some one of the best things I have ever eaten. IN MY LIFE. EVER. Just eat the pancakes, okay?!

OTHERS WORTH A MENTION…

INDIGO CAFE

Situated in the heart of the bustling night market, Indigo is a tourist favourite and offers an impressive vegetarian and vegan menu. Despite it’s good reviews on HappyCow, I wasn’t that impressed – I ordered a coconut tofu curry which was pretty below average. There are, however, plenty of other things on the menu to try so I wouldn’t necessarily write this one off completely. If you need a sweet hit, give the vegan cakes a try, the banana bread cupcakes were pretty good!

WHERE: Sisavangvong Road, Ban Pakham, Town Center, Luang Prabang, Laos
PRICE: $$

TAMNAK LAO

tamnak lao vegetarian

Tamnak Lao is another restaurant which, although boasting an extensive vegetarian menu, didn’t blow my mind by any means. It was lovely to eat here as it’s in the more French end of Sakkarine Rd in a large colonial building that has a large outdoor terrace. However, overall, the food wasn’t anything special and was very expensive compared to other restaurants. If you’re on a budget, I would definitely head to the other ones I mentioned or load up at the buffet!

WHERE: Sakkarine Road, Ban Watsene, Luang Prabang

PRICE: $$$

TIPS

  • There are stalls EVERYWHERE where you can get a delicious tofu and avocado baguette! The tofu strangely tastes like tofurkey and is perfect to grab on the go
  • There are also plenty of places to get fresh fruit and delicious smoothies!
  • Make sure you specify STRICT vegetarian and be clear that “no fish” also includes shrimp and fish sauce / past

Restaurants That I Wish We Tried…

Vegetarian Guesthouses

So there you have it! A complete guide to the vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Luang Prabang.

Have you been here before? Where is your favourite destination in the world for good food?

Lydia Rose

xoxo

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