We were a little sticker shocked when we first landed in Luang Prabang. Landlocked Laos was a bit more expensive than it’s neighboring countries. It’s all relative, but a cheap meal now and then can help balance out your travel budget.

Below you’ll find some of our inside tips for eating cheaply in Luang Prabang. Many eateries do not have websites or even official names for that matter, so we will give you directions but it’s up to you to find them! That’s all part of the fun, right?

 Breakfast:  

Instead of a Western-style breakfast, which typically starts around 40,000 Kip ($5.00), try khao piak khao, rice soup. It will only cost you 10,000 Kip, maybe 12,000 Kip. This dish is a large bowl of rice soup filled with minced pork, crisped garlic, cilantro, and sometimes a fresh vegetable or egg. 

Our favorite place for khao piak khao, rice soup, was Prashaniyom Coffee or ร้านกาแฟประชานิยม (on Google Maps).  You’ll find this local joint at the end of Kitsalat Road near where the road runs into the Mekong River road, Khem Khong Road. They serve their khao piak khao with fried dough (pictured above) to sop up your soup. We highly recommend that you ask for a poached egg inside. They also brew some great Lao black coffee that will surely give you the jolt of energy you need to start your day. We always sat at the bar (pictured below), where all good things happen, but you can also sit across the street if you’d prefer a river view!

Another Option: You can also trya place that is set up in a small alley across from Wat Mai (pictured below). They serve hard boiled eggs instead of poaching them inside your soup. No fried dough either…but it’s still a nice, affordable breakfast stop.

Another worthy place you can eat khao piak khao is on Kitsalat Road, just up from Prashaniyom as you are walking away from the river, at the intersection with the morning market. You’ll see a small sign and a few stool seats lined up (pictured below). The lady makes 3 dishes and serves all morning until she runs out.

Lunch / Dinner:

Noodle soup or baguette sandwich, which do you prefer? That’s the best thing about  Luang Prabang- these are two of the most inexpensive lunches you can find. 

Baguette sandwiches start at 10,000 kip. We’d be skeptical of anyone selling you a sandwich for 20,000kip or more. You can find baguettes anywhere but the most popular place is behind the Hmong Craft sellers, under the tents at the intersection of Kitsalat Road and Sisavangvong Road. Every vendor is selling more or less the same thing but we learned quickly to stick with our favorite and most consistent lady, located more than halfway in towards the left, pictured below. Try Lao Style, made with tofu, a fried egg and special sauce.

A bowl of noodles in Laos is always a great bet. The two most popular kinds of noodle dishes are khao piak sen and khao soi, which you can get for 12,000 Kip – 20,000 Kip all around Luang Prabang. Khao piak sen, consists of a clear pork broth and ‘wet rice’ noodles, which are a fresh noodle made from rice flour and tapioca flour. The soup comes topped with crisped garlic slices, scallions, fresh greens and a dash of salt & pepper. Khao soi is not the thick curry noodle dish of northern Thailand, but rather a thick rice noodle served with ground pork/beef with a soup stock mixed with tomatoes and spices.

Khao piak sen wet raw noodles                                                                              Laos style khao soi

Khao piak raw noodles
Laos khao soi

Where to eat noodles: Again, you’ll find noodles in several locations all around Luang Prabang. Some of our favorite noodles were at Nang Ae Restaurant, on the corner across from the Dara Market.  For dinner, we recommend finding some of the small popup noodle stands at the night market. Many people venture to the eastern, quiet part of town to Xieng Thong Noodle. It’s quite well known, but we can’t say it lived up to the hype.

Lao Lao Garden makes a conscience effort to provide affordable menu options for those travelers on a budget. They offer fried rice, fried noodles, noodle soup, papaya salad, or a baguette with 2 eggs for only 19,000 Kip. All other dishes on their menu start at 45,000 Kip . 

Two doors down from Nang Ae Restaurant you will find a hidden gem! Some businesses grow in popularity while others remain quiet and you wonder why.  While there’s absolutely nothing fancy about this joint, we felt the need to go in because the little girl dancing outside was the best non-invasive marketing tactic we’ve found on the road. We realized the family that owns the restaurant lives in the back. This is life for many locals. Their food was incredibly tasty and affordable. Almost all the dishes go for 15,000 to 20,000 Kip.  While we don’t even know the name of this place, it’s located two doors down from Nang Ae Restaurant. The walls are white and the tables have Coca-cola table cloths. Hard to miss!

By far the cheapest option for a budget dinner in Luang Prabang is the vegetarian buffet at the night market where a full plate of grub goes for 10,000 Kip. There’s an incredible amount of choices and you can eat as much as you like. It seems too good to be true. 

Another recommendation for a cheap dinner is eating street food at the night market. Our favorite is the women, pictured below, who sets up shop on Kitsalan Road . She will grill you whatever meats you want right in front of you and she also has vegetarian stir fried dishes pre-made, which she heats up for you.

We hope you enjoy eating your way through Luang Prabang. Please share any other cheap eats in the comment section below!

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