Best street food to try in Luang Prabang

Sebastien Chaneac

Luang Prabang is a great city to visit in North Laos. We particularly loved it because of the excellent street food in the night market. It reminded us of our street food experiences in Thailand and the yummy street food scene in Xi'An in China.

This is our top 10 favourite street food in Luang Prabang that made us very happy during our week in this city:

1. Barbecued meats

There are many stalls selling barbecued meats. But unlike elsewhere in Laos, the street food in Luang Prabang this has been adapted for foreigners.

In Laos, every part of the animal is eaten, so eating in a more local restaurant was hard for us (congealed pig's blood in your noodle soup anyone? Or chunks of pork fat or other insides…?)

The meat at the night market is by far the best street food in Luang Prabang. It's proper meat and it's damn good.

Sebastien enjoying the street food in Luang Prabang
Sebastien about to go face down into the barbecued meats at the night market in Luang Prabang

2. Salted barbecued fish

As well as barbecued meats, fish is a very popular street food in Luang Prabang. There is a selection of different sized fish, which have been marinated, salted and are then barbecued in front of you to make a very tasty meal.

It's around 30,000 to 50,000 kips (£2.50-£4 / $4-$6) for a whole fish depending on the size.

BBQ fish at the night market
Tasty yummy BBQ fish at the night market in Luang Prabang

3. Baguette sandwiches

There are many colourful stalls selling various baguette sandwiches for as little as 10,000 kips each (84p / $1.30). This may not seem anything special, but in Asia where the carbohydrate staple is rice and noodles, you do miss good bread.

Our favourite baguette stall in Luang Prabang's night market
Buying yummy baguette sandwiches at the night market in Luang Prabang

4. Noodle soup

Noodle soup is staple street food in Luang Prabang and in Laos generally.

We struggled at first with it in the local restaurants because of the variety of very questionable meats used. This is not the case at the night market, which has been adapted for foreigners and contains proper meat.

Noodle soup freshly made
Sebastien about to tuck into a freshly made noodle soup freshly made

5. Exotic fruits

Tropical fruit is one our favourite foods whilst travelling in Asia and the street food market in Luang Prabang is abundant with them. Mangos were particularly unique as these are home grown in Laos, sweet and plentiful.

Sebastien buying fresh mangoes
Sebastien's new friend who sold us freshly cut mangoes every day

6. Sugar cane juice

Sugar cane was our exciting ‘discovery' from the street food in Yangon, Myanmar. It is available everywhere in Luang Prabang street stalls.

Sugar cane and coconut stand
Sugar cane and coconut stand in Luang Prabang

The juice is squeezed out and then served in a small plastic bag with a straw to drink it.

Stefan with bag of sugar cane juice
Stefan about to enjoy a yummy bag of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice

7. Spicy papaya salad

Som tam is the Thai take on the spicy papaya salad. We found out this healthy salad originated from Laos and called tam maak hoong. 

Papaya salad is a very popular street food in Luang Prabang, made from green papaya with a cucumber like consistency, lots of lime juice, chilli and fish sauce. There are many stalls dotted around the night market and in Laos generally where it is prepared and sold.

Ingredients for a papaya salad
Ingredients for a papaya salad – ready to be made right before your eyes at the night market

8. Kanom krok (coconut rice pancakes)

Kanom krok are small pancakes like desserts made from coconut milk, sugar, sticky rice and flour. They are cooked in the kanom krok cast iron pans.

They are made by a few stalls at the entrance to the food area of the night market in Luang Prabang.

Kanom krok
Kanom krok dessert made at the night market

9. Fried spring rolls

There are a few stalls at the night market making freshly made fried spring rolls both meat and vegetarian. They are sold in packets of around 5 for 10,000 kips (84p / $1.3) each.

Spring rolls are popular throughout Asia, but the ones sold as street food in Luang Prabang particularly resonated with us.

Fried spring rolls
Fried spring rolls at the night market

10. Fried dumplings

One very friendly man works alongside his wife at the street food market of Luang Prabang. She prepares the noodle soup and he prepares the fried dumplings.

Just like the spring rolls, meat and vegetarian ones are freshly made and sold. A spicy sauce is given as an accompaniment to give it a kick.

Fried dumplings
Fried dumplings at the night market
Travel advice for LGTBQ community

Advice for LGBTQ travellers to Luang Prabang

Laos is generally gay friendly. At no stage did we ever experience any problems anywhere in the country as a gay couple. The Laotians are very respectful, charming, welcoming and curious with foreigners. Luang Prabang is the most touristic part of Laos, full of people from all over the world. Here especially you'll have no issues as an LGBTQ traveller. Getting a double bed was never a problem for us in any of the hotels or guesthouses we stayed at in Luang Prabang (or elsewhere in Laos). For more, read our interview with our dear friend Somphorn (RIP) about what gay life in Laos is like.

You can read more about our experiences discovering food in Laos and watch our Laos travel video.

 

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.

Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of nomadicboys.com. He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

8 thoughts on “Best street food to try in Luang Prabang”

  1. Your video is so cool, especially the scene of jumping into the waterfall. Love it. Regarding fruits, you can find it easy in most of Asian countries. Heaven for fruits may be Thailand and Vietnam. Anyways, thanks for your post.

  2. While I found Luang Prabang very touristy, the proper street food sold at the night food market (not to be confused with the night market by the Mekong) in Vientiane made me salivate every single time.
    The sticky rice is a staple in Laos and of much better quality and different consistency of the one you will find in Thailand, try it and you’ll be hooked!

  3. Don’t leave Laos without trying Naem Khao (also known as Laotian crispy rice salad in the US). It’s made of fermented pork and fried rice and a lot of herbs. So yummy.
    It’s one of the most popular dishes in Laos.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gay travel newsletter

Our best gay travel tips, latest stories and exclusive deals sent straight to your inbox

Holler Box

Gay travel newsletter

Our best gay travel tips, latest stories and exclusive deals sent straight to your inbox

Holler Box