Phở, Vietnamese-style rice noodle soup, is probably the most popular noodle dish in Laos, but a few things set it apart from the dish of its origins. Firstly, the noodles used in Lao phở generally aren't very high quality, and tend to be somewhat coarse and pasty. And Lao phở broth often lacks the deep meatiness of its Vietnamese counterpart (I suspect they attempt to remedy this by adding heaps of MSG). But I reckon the thing that makes Lao phở most different than the Vietnamese style is the number of condiments:
Which, contrary to the other differences, is not necessarily a bad thing. Eating phở in Laos you really get the chance to customise your bowl with a seemingly endless variety of bottled condiments, and I love getting a stack of fresh herbs, not necessarily even to put in my phở, but simply to munch on.
Thus, unless you're a phở purist, you'll most likely enjoy Phở Dung, probably the most popular phở restaurant in central Vientiane. The noodles are OK, as is the broth (the meat slightly less so), but the condiments, which include heaps of fresh herbs and veggies, fish sauce, soy sauce, pickled eggplants, a slightly sweet peanut-like sauce, chili sauce, sugar, MSG, and more, just about make up for its other faults.
Phở Dung 158 Th Heng Boun 021 213 775 6am-2pm
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