After two weeks in Vientiane I have to admit that I’ve found relatively little in the way of Lao food worth sharing. I’ve encountered one exceptionally good Lao restaurant, a decent phở' stall and a pretty solid night market, all of which I’ll blog about soon, but for the most part I get the impression that the vast majority of people here appear eat dinner at home, and when eating out, require little more a bit of grilled meat and Beerlao. This is unfortunate for visitors, as Lao food really can be good, but I imagine that much of what people manage to eat here is either gentrified for foreigners, or as is more often the case, just kinda crappy.
In voicing my thoughts to some local foodies, I was pointed in the direction of a laap restaurant near Vientiane’s northern bus terminal. I cycled out there this morning and amazingly found the place, which even more amazingly, considering that today was Lao Women’s Day (congratulations, Lao women), was open.
The proprietors of Han Khay Laap T2 (disappointingly, a reference to the name of the road the restaurant's located on, not the Hollywood film) are friendly and even appear to speak a bit of English. The place specialises in beef dishes, in particular laap, which is prepared raw, par-boiled (shown at the top of this post) or fried, but also do a few other dishes including foe (Lao-style phở'), grilled beef (tongue, heart and teats), tom kheuang nai ngua (a thick broth with beef innards), koy paa (similar to laap, but made with big chunks of freshwater fish) and kaeng som paa, a tom yam-like soup with fish from the Mekong:
The laap was an excellent example of the Lao-school of the dish – tart, meaty, crunchy (from roasted and ground sticky rice) and herbal – and unlike most places, the obligatory veggies that accompany it weren’t wilted and even appear to have been washed. The restaurant also succeeded, somewhat, in alleviating my pessimism about finding good Lao food here, and made me realise that I just have to ask the right people.
Han Khay Laap T2 Thanon T2 (Located roughly across from Khounxai Hotel) 020 551 349 8am-3pm Mon-Sat
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