Talat laeng, evening markets, are, outside of eating at somebody's home, the best place in Laos to find authentic food. The only downside is that, unless you live there, you'll likely need plates, silverware and a place to eat. But if you can manage this, the below are a couple of the better talat laeng in Vientiane.
The That Luang Market (pictured at the top of this post), located a stone's toss from the eponymous religious structure, seems to specialise in grilled foods:
But you can get most other Lao standards there, including tam (pounded salads):
and various curries and stir-fries:
There are even a few vendors you can sit down to:
although the choices are pretty limited, and include a couple noodle dishes, more grilled meat and naem khao.
My favourite of the city's evening markets is the one in the Ban Anou neigbourhood:
It's a bit larger, and sells a wider variety of Lao food. In addition to the ubiquitous grilled meats:
you'll also find a few more specific/regional vendors, such as this stall that specialises in sausages and dips normally associated with Luang Prabang:
and another stall that has a huge variety of jaew, chili-based dips:
The jaew in the foreground and to the right is the somewhat unusual jaew het, a dip of (grilled, I think?) mushrooms. This woman's jaew are pretty good, and she also has a huge mound of par-boiled veggies to dip them in.
Several vendors sell soups, curries and stir-fries:
and most of whom sell kaeng nor mai, the dish in the foreground, a thick stew of bamboo, vegetables and fresh herbs that's a Lao staple.
And of course, this being Laos, there's tam mak hung:
Vientiane's Evening Markets 6-9pm
View Thai Eats in a larger map