Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is a beautiful, calm city, offering a quieter getaway than cities like Bangkok and Hanoi. When you want something quick, cheap and portable, Vientiane street food is for you. Here are the best places to get it.
Ban Anou Night Market
A well known market in Vientiane, the Ban Anou Night Market sets up every evening along the Khoun Boulom road, near the corner of Chao Anou. While a relatively small space, the Ban Anou market manages to cram a vast number of stalls. Weave among the different stalls and take your pick of hundreds of different dishes. If you want to start basic, try a steaming bowl of Klao niaw (sticky rice), Laos’ most famous dish. This is different from normal steam rice, as the rice sticks together when cooked. It is then rolled into small balls, and served in a bamboo basket, and often dipped in other foods and sauces. Lao consumes more Klao niaw than any other country, and it is eaten with practically all Laotian dishes.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Lane Xang is Vientiane’s widest boulevard, running from the Presidential Palace all the way towards Pha That Luang. You will find many different individual food stalls set up along the boulevard, selling a wide range of food. Try Laap, (also spelt Larb, Larp, Lahb and Laab) considered by many as the national dish of Laos, and a staple among locals. A type of ‘meat salad’, Laap is made from pork, chicken, beef, duck or fish, and can be served with garlic, lime juice, spring onion or mint, along with roasted rice. Laap can be served cooked or raw, (although we’d suggest avoiding the raw meat ones at food stalls, leave that for any restaurants you visit). You may also be able to find some vegetarian Laap, made with tofu or mushrooms. Laap is a simple yet exciting dish, with a variety of combinations, and perfect for a hot day in Vientiane.
Located at the junction of Rue Hengboun and Chao Anou Road, Ban Haysoke is a great place to find some proper Laotian food. The stalls at Ban Haysoke cater more for snack food so they are not the best place if you’re looking for a full meal. However, they are perfect for trying a range of different small dishes. Try some Lao sausage, (sai oua) a popular Laotian snack. Lao sausage consists of pork meat, seasoned with herbs such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, cilantro and galangal, and flavored with fish sauce. Sour pork sausage (som moo) is similar, but uses sticky rice which is allowed to ferment, giving the sausage a sour taste. If you want something more substantial, get these with a side of sticky rice or stir-fried vegetables. You’re the boss at Ban Haysoke.
The beautiful Mekong River runs through Vientiane, and many locals and tourists enjoy walking alongside it, especially in the evening. The night bazaar, one of the most popular night markets, runs alongside the Mekong. The Night Bazaar offers more clothing and trinkets than food, but you can find some food stalls along the River. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy some local Laotian food, as you can admire the view as you eat. Try another famous Laotian dish, green papaya salad (tam som), for something a bit lighter. Tam som is made from shredded unripe papaya, mixed with chili, sour lime, salt, fish sauce and sugar. Meat or fish is usually added too. The use of unripe papaya actually gives this dish a savory taste, and combines the typical flavors of Lao for something simply magical.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.