Eat and meet
Don KhongThe food scene in Don Khong is not particularly inspired, and all the restaurants serve pretty much the same menu. Stick with fish and you'll do okay, but all the Lao food is toned down for the typical chilli-averse farang palate and we found it often to be of poor value.
The Done Khong Guesthouse is probably the best in town -- their succulent steamed fish is absolutely mouth watering. Stick to the Lao options, however, as the western food is is of very middling quality. And remember that just because something is listed under the vegetable section, doesn't mean it will come meat-free -- vegetarians should be sure to point out that they want no meat. They have a very friendly English and French-speaking staff.
The Mekong Guesthouse claims to have Canadian food, though that doesn't stray past the pancakes and coffee, but we found some of the other dishes delicious, though portion sizes vary. Avoid the tom yam, but try the exquisite fish, potatoes and veggies. The interior dining room is hemmed in by chicken wire, apparently to keep a particularly voracious kitty at bay -- eat outside, well away from the meowing fur-ball.
Pon's Restaurant is a popular favourite that has nice table seating along the river, and does standard Lao fare with a few traveller's faves thrown in, but overall the best thing about eating here is the view. Beers are cold -- perhaps cooled by the absolutely glacial service.
The Phoukhong, one door up from Pon's and also set on a balcony overlooking the river, boasts fairy lights and wagon wheels, but the service here was even slower than Pon's and the food very poor. Try elsewhere.
On the western side of the island, 8km away in the town of Muang Sen, there are a few floating restaurants that are well-positioned for smouldering sunsets in the evenings. If you're after some real Lao fare, these could be well worth a try. Perhaps also worth a stop at lunchtime during a cycle trip so you don't need to ride home in the dark.
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