|Street food in Luang Prabang, from top left pork noodle soup with fried garlic; sweet Lao-style roti with banana, egg, and sweet milk; fried and fresh spring rolls; fiery papaya salad|
I spent a month travelling around Vietnam and Laos. Here is the second entry in our Beyond the Five Boroughs feature on Vietnam and Laos. The first was on Hanoi street food. The third entry explores the enchanting city of Hoi An and the fourth the imperial city of Huế.
The first thing I noticed about the food in Laos is that it was closer to Thai food than to Vietnamese. It has a primal quality with strong, spicy flavors and lots of chilis, garlic and galangal, as well as a far stronger fish sauce than I saw in Vietman (which, unfortunately, they do not let out of the country).
Naturally we had plenty of time to sample the city's street food, which is some of the best in Southeast Asia. Most of the street food in Luang Prabang is sold at the city's superb night market where literally hundreds of stalls line a main street selling handmade wares and of course food. The market is a serene and enjoyable place for a nightly stroll; a far cry from the night market in Hanoi where the density of people crowding the streets can be as bad as a NYC subway during rush hour.