Eat and meet
UdomxaiSiso Bakery is a tiny spot next to the roundabout up near the bus station selling an assortment of baguettes, pizzas and... pizza baguettes also known as an old-school pizza subs. Sometimes they run out of cheese, meaning some of the menu items aren't available, but don't let this put you off. The other food on the menu is yummy too.
Located between the river and Litthavixay Guesthouse just off the main road is Kanya Restaurant which serves a large menu of Lao food in bright, clean surrounds. For your money you receive extremely large portions with good quality meat. The dishes are so big that many can be shared between two people making it a cheap option despite the seemingly inflated prices of dishes. The fried pork in coconut milk is an absolute winner and even the fried rice is cheap and tasty. Beer here is cheap and the fresh orange juice is refreshing after a day of travel. This is one of our favourite places in town.
With a lovely wooden balcony overlooking the river and the greenery on its banks, the Khemko Restaurant has a great atmosphere. It has those popular large round tables, making it a good place to come with a crowd, and with the Chinese-inspired menu it's more appropriate to eat shared-style too. Most dishes feature just one item, so to get a balanced meal you need to order several dishes.
The small, bamboo-fronted Supailin Restaurant is the only place serving northern Lao-style food in a town full of Chinese-run businesses. Menu includes soups, noodle, rice and stir-fry dishes, papaya salad, and laap, all at good prices. It has several books full of recommendations by travellers from all over the world. Praise is mostly for the very friendly woman who runs the place, but also for the delicious food. The pad Thai is particularly well-reviewed and is indeed tasty. Hanging in the shop are shirts for sale -- some from ethnic minorities such as Tai Dam, Khmu, Lue and Yuan -- for 50,000 to 100,000 kip, along with some pretty modern Lao-style shirts too. Be prepared to wait for your meals here. Sometimes a wait in excess of an hour and a half is required and if you are starving, you may well go mad. Some say great food is worth waiting for, but... well, there's a limit! It's located just off the main road in the Western end of town away from where most hotels are meaning you'll be in for a bit of a walk to visit it -- but the walk is worth it.
Muang Nuea is located halfway between the river and the bus station and serves up a range of Lao dishes and a few Western favourites. It's more popular with locals than tourists ensuring quality is good and prices are low. The Lao coffee here is tops and is served in nice cups -- a welcome change for Laos.
The cafe in the Charming Lao Hotel just off the main road on the road to Phongsali serves a good range of tasty Western and Lao food at reasonable prices. The coffee is espresso, the bread is real and the ice cream delicious. It's a good choice for something a bit more modern. Free WiFi.
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