Photo: Wat Sisaket, Vientiane.

Photo of Night market stalls on the riverNight market stalls on the river

Cheap and relaxing

Night market stalls on the river

Along Fa Ngum Road, the quay along the Mekong, as well as the smaller side streets running off it, you'll invariably find plenty of barbecues and make-shift restaurants.

Photo of Night market stalls on the river

Most are hastily assembled just before sundown and stacked away around 22:00, though some open earlier and close later. The food is simple but tasty, and the staples are grilled chicken, fish, spicy papaya salad and spring rolls, served with a basket of sticky rice and delicious dipping sauces. Menus are beginning to diversify and some offer "hot pots", a vaguely fondue-like experience of cooking meat and veggies in a pot of boiling broth.

The ramshackle restaurants lack names, so it's hard to recommend one over another or even tell them apart. Browse to see what’s appealing and point at what you’d like. Fruit shakes or big bottles of BeerLao complete the experience, and a meal on the Mekong is memorable.

Prices may fluctuate, often unfavourably for tourists, so do ask prices before ordering.

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