We spent quite some time in Luang Namtha and one of the reasons for staying this long was definitely the amazing vegan food on offer. From fresh fruits in local markets to authentic traditional dishes to vegan pizza – Luang Namtha has it all! Most of the places we ate at were catered towards foreign tourists, mainly because it can sometimes be difficult to find vegan options in local restaurants. However, we did find a few treats on local markets and if you have time, I’m sure you’ll find some nice vegan food in town (i.e. rice and fried vegetables, as this is often the only option in local restaurants – but it’s still a pretty tasty option!)! So, without further ado, here are our top 6 places to find delicious vegan food in Luang Namtha, Laos.
**This post was imported from my old blog and was originally published in 2015**
1. Fresh Market
Although you won’t be able to eat most of the cooked food on offer (meat and fish) there’s plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. We headed here to get fresh ingredients for making a delicious salad, as we often feel deprived of fresh salads while travelling. We also got super tasty mangoes from here! There’s also a few ladies selling boiled sweet corn. The fresh market is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for fresh and delicious vegan food!
2. Night Market
Luang Namtha’s night market is situated right on the main street and it is impossible to miss it! The vegan food options we found here included vegetarian spring rolls, fried noodles (make sure to get rice noodles and check whether or not they’re fried with egg or fish sauce!) and different types of steamed and boiled vegetables. We also found different pastes and dipping sauces that were supposedly vegan, however, we weren’t sure and they didn’t look too fresh any way. It would be a good idea to write down or learn the word for vegetarian in the local language!
3. Minority Restaurant
Hidden in a small alley way lies the Minority restaurant – but don’t worry, there’s a big sign on the main street, so you can’t miss it! They offer authentic local dishes and a bit of peace and quiet, away from the noisy main street. Although we didn’t spot too many vegan options, we were able to try the ‘Jeow’, which are delicious dipping sauces that happen to be vegan (at least in this restaurant they are), served with sticky rice and steamed vegetables. It’s a bit pricey, considering that they offer local food, but it’s definitely worth a try – the Jeow was amazing and we’re not sure if the ones outside are actually vegan. So thought ‘better safe than sorry’ and were happy to pay a bit more.
4. Manikong Bakery Cafe
Also on Luang Namtha’s main street lies the Manikong Bakery Cafe. Before you get too excited about the bakery part, no, the bread and cakes on offer all contain milk. But don’t be sad, as they have amazing curries, spring rolls and other vegan snacks! Our personal favorite: Vegan Red Curry served with steamed rice. It’s also possible to get fruit shakes, but be aware that these normally contain milk and some of the staff doesn’t speak great English. If you decide to order a fruit shake, make it very, very clear that you don’t want milk in it.
5. Noodle & Porridge Shop
We’re not quite sure about the name of this place, it might just be called Noodle Shop. Anyway, we didn’t actually go here for the noodles (although they do have noodles) but for the cheap and vegan Papaya Salad and huge amounts of sticky rice! Your wallet will thank you for visiting this little shop, as they have much cheaper prices than other restaurants on the main street. If you order Papaya salad, make sure to say you don’t want fish sauce!
6. Bamboo Lounge
If we were rich, we would just live in the Bamboo Lounge. This is the place to sit, relax and hang out, all while eating vegan pizza. Pizza! We jumped up and down when we first saw that they offered vegan pizza, made in their very own pizza oven. The rest of their menu is equally amazing and filled with vegan treats, from pasta to homemade bread to the vegan equivalent of the full English breakfast. If you’re craving authentic western food, or if you just want to hand out in their comfy chairs, head to the Bamboo lounge!
Have you been to Luang Namtha before and know any other places that have great vegan food? Let us know in the comment section! Also, how awesome does the pizza look?