Laos is not as vegan friendly as Cambodia and it might be a bit hard for one to find vegan food there – especially, local food. There were times when I was hunting and there were times when I got super lucky (yes, I found a vegan buffet being served at a place that I accidentally found myself in :’) ). And my experience of eating vegan food in Luang Prabang was not that bad after all. All you need is some basic language skills and a voracious appetite. And you’re good to go.
Since my job as a travel blogger is to make your lives easier by sharing all the useful information derived from my own experiences, I have written this post about where to find the best vegan food in Luang Prabang. If you are in Luang Prabang for two days (check out my 48-hour itinerary), you’re good with the information I have shared in this post. You will not starve.
A Local Restaurant Opposite to the Phamsai Houngchalern Restaurant
Okay, so this local restaurant doesn’t have a name and I couldn’t spot it on Maps either, but what it does have is a wonderful Laotian lady spinning up some of the freshest Laotian delicacies with the warmth of her heart. I ordered a Green Papaya Salad (you should too) and some Vegetable Noodles customised according to my dietary preferences. All I had to say was ‘No Fish, No Meat, No Egg’ with a smile and some gestures. And of course, ‘Kap Chay‘ in the end which means Thank You!
You can visit this restaurant on your way to/back from Wat Xieng Thong and the Mekong River. It is a peaceful restaurant run by a local woman and you know what I always say – eat local, empower the locals and live like a local.
If you are staying at a hostel with a fixed breakfast menu, feel free to ask them for a loaf of bread with sauteed vegetables instead of egg or meat. My daily breakfast would be a loaf of bread, sauteed tomatoes and onions, fruits and some green tea. By replacing jam with vegetables, I was ensuring that I get enough vitamins and minerals for the morning.
A Local Restaurant Near Kuang Si Falls
Once you take a visit to the Kuang Si Falls and swim in its celeste, ice-cold waters for three hours, you will be gluttonous for good food. And not many restaurants around the Falls serve vegan food. However, I did find a restaurant next to the car parking area serving fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls (slurp!) on their menu. Crispy raw vegetables are rolled in starchy rice paper sheets to create a perfect blend of complementing textures. However, don’t forget to mention ‘No Fish Sauce’ because the rolls are usually served with it. Instead, ask for Soy Sauce or Chili Sauce. Yum! I am actually salivating as I describe the details.
Also Read: My Alice in Wonderland Moment at Kuang Si Falls
A Local Restaurant on Kingkitsarath Road
Okay, I know you’re probably wondering why I haven’t written down the names of these restaurants – 1) they were in Laotian 2) they didn’t have one since they’re run by the locals. When you head to Wat Xieng Thong and take a right turn on Kingkitsarath Road, you will find a local restaurant on your left, run by a family. I couldn’t locate it on Maps but it is a bit further from Epoca Cafe. Isn’t it beautiful that these local restaurants are not on Maps? It makes the journey so much more adventurous!
Head to this restaurant run by a Laotian family and order your plate of Larb Tofu. It is a dish made from stir-fried tofu and Laotian herbs cooked in a variety of sauces. It is a high-protein dish and absolutely tasty. Also, the South-East Asians are extremely generous in the portions of tofu they serve in your meal – you will get at least 30 – 40 grams of protein per meal. Oh! And as usual, do not forget to mention ‘No Fish, No Meat, No Egg’ when you order your dish.
Vegan Street Food at the Night Market
The Night Market in Luang Prabang is the best night market that I have been to. Apart from finding several handicrafts, art and souvenirs at the market, I did manage to find some scrumptious local vegan food. The first dish that I had was Coconut Puddings served in banana leaf baskets. These hot, small, round puddings were so delicious that they straight away melted in my mouth culminating in an explosion of coconut flavor – so good!
As I strolled down at the night market, I found a lady selling coconut milk with a variety of flavored syrups. Yes! She had coffee too and that’s when I had my first local vegan cappuccino – ice cold, and a fresh kick of rejuvenation. “Starbucks doesn’t have to come here”, I thought.
Next, I accidentally found a spot where a man had casually put up a table with a variety of mock meats, deep-fried vegetables, noodles, salads, sticky rice, fruits and some soda (It is at the corner of the street towards Golden Lotus Place). But what made me cry was the board next to it which said ‘Vegan and Vegetarian Buffet‘. It was an unlimited buffet where you could serve anything you want for just 15,000 kip (120 INR or 1.72 USD). You could even hand over your plate to the gentleman to rope in some sauces and turn your dish into a delicious meal. And the best part was, the music playing behind – he had a playlist of the latest English tracks.
So, here I am, alone in Laos, sharing a table with travelers from across the world, eating a plate load of vegan food and subtly crying out of joy, all while listening to familiar English pop music. And people ask me, do you enjoy traveling solo? I say no. I don’t enjoy traveling solo. I live traveling solo. I create extraordinary moments traveling solo. For in the end, that’s all that matters.