Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Traditional Lao Barbecue in Luang Prabang


I may not have been a fan of Luang Prabang, but I did have one excellent experience: traditional Lao Barbecue at Lao Lao Garden restaurant in Luang Prabang.

Lao Lao Garden claims to have the only traditional Lao barbecue place in the city. (Again, this is what bothers me about Luang Prabang – if it’s so traditional, why is it only available at this one place?)

I’m a big fan of Shabu-Shabu at home in Boston – traditional Japanese cuisine where you cook a soup in a pot shared between you and your friends, dropping meat or seafood in, piece by piece.

Traditional Lao Barbecue was similar – a soup cooks in the pot while the meat sizzles on top.

My friend Anthony and I decided to try it out.

Start by filling the broth with vegetables and vermicelli noodles.  These go in first because they take the longest to cook.  The pot sits on top of a cement block filled with coals.

Next, take a slab of fat (!!) and rub it all over the top of the grill.  Much more hardcore than a bit of butter!

Finally, throw the meat on top and watch it sizzle.

While the meat is cooking, add vegetables and vermicelli noodles to the broth.

And there’s your soup!

It was a lot of fun, and the soup was delicious, but it was also a lot of work. Much more work than Shabu-Shabu.

If you decide to go for traditional Lao barbecue, know that you won’t be having much of a conversation with your table-mates beyond, “Is this done?”

But whether it’s with a big group of friends or our for a date with that hot backpacker you met in Vang Vieng, traditional Lao barbecue is a great dining idea while you’re in Luang Prabang!

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12 Responses to “Traditional Lao Barbecue in Luang Prabang”
  1. Rease says:

    I’m not a huge fan of working that hard for my food. It is only fun for so long, then you just get hungry!

  2. Hilary says:

    You two make a really cute couple!

    I hope you both have a great future together! I hear wedding bells….


  3. Sheryll says:

    That looks delicious, despite the effort it takes to make. Yummy!

  4. Lisa says:

    I agree!!! I hear wedding bells too!!! And just throwing it out there, but I’m completely available to attend your wedding ceremony somewhere in southeast asia…

  5. Chris says:

    In as much as I’d love to try that, I’m going to have to agree with Rease. That looks like a lot of work. Then again, people say that about crap legs and I can’t get enough of those.

    Someone needs to create an app for travel blogs that allow us to smell the food in the pictures! 🙂

  6. Yessi says:

    Hey Kate,

    I saw that you said you use a Canon Powershot in a previous post. Which model is it that you use? I am looking for a point and shoot camera to go with my SLR (to take to places where I can’t take my SLR eg in my pocket when I go skiing). Yours seems to take great photo’s.

    Have you decided where you will be travelling to after Saigon? I saw that you couldn’t decide between Bali, Singapore or the Philippines. I have been to Singapore and I loved it, went to Sentosa Island too whilst I was there. Although the philippines sounds amazing!!!

    Are you currently travelling with any of your friends you have mentioned previously?

    Keep up the good work and enjoy yourself!


  7. Sharon says:

    Hi Kate,

    I am a big fan of your blog and would love to publish more of your adventures on our women’s travel site, Pink Pangea. If you’re interested please email me at


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