Compared to Vientiane, Luang Prabang was fulll of tourists, and the restaurant scene really reflected that. Prices were much higher, and most restaurants have Western dishes on the menu, as previously reported. Tamarind, which received rave reviews from a number of people already, turned out to be as good as I had read. They did a great job introducing me to Laotian dishes and their cooking class was excellent. This is a must-go place in LP - they are open for lunch and dinner. Go early during the trip, in case you decide you want to eat there again. For dinner they have special feasts that require a minimum of 2 people. If you are a solo traveller, the best way to enjoy the feast is to just pay for 2 people - then you get twice the food!
The night market was very disappointing for about the first hour. I spent that time walking around looking at the large piles of precooked food wondering who was going to eat all of it. When I was about to give up, I found a green papaya guy pounding away in the alley next to the Ancient Luang Prabang Hotel. His workstation was meticulously clean - he placed the pestle in a clean plastic bag before setting it on the table. He used another bag as a glove while squeezing lime juice. He asked how many chilis I wanted, and laughed when I said 2. The portions are small and the chilis are potent. The salad was 7,000 kip plus extra for sticky rice, depending on how much sticky rice you want. It turned out to be a great meal after all.
The morning market is more chowhound-worthy. Most women were selling vegetables, but there were a few food vendors scattered about. I found at least 2 bbq folks grilling meat. I could see their bucket of raw meat on skewers, and figured this must be the time when they cook the meat for the evening market. So, if you don't mind having grilled meat for breakfast, this is the time to get it. The chicken wings I got (10,000 kip) were tasty. I also found a woman frying flattened round pieces of sticky rice. They puffed up like poori when fried, and then collapsed back down once out of the oil. The texture was crispy, the taste was similar to sticky rice on a stick, and she had little time to drain them so they were oily. 5,000 for 3.
Joma - let's just say that my expectations were too high. The croissants were pale and didn't look flaky. So I opted for a cinnamon bun, which was very similar to the Cinnabon (US chain specializing in cinnamon buns).
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