Mango Mania: Iconic Views and Soothing Entrees

Running water, its soothing white noise comforts and welcomes. This is the sound that greets customers as they enter the sanctum sanctorum which is the uniqueness of Mango Mania.
Mango Mania is a U-shaped greenhouse that appears more mirage-like than edificial. At the base of the U, framed by two bright red wooden doors reminiscent of …

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Minister Vows Action Against Out-of-date, Contaminated Foods

Action has been and will continue to be taken to prevent the sale of out-of-date and contaminated foods as well as the provision of unfair services that continue to surface, a minister told the National Assembly (NA) recently.
Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ms Khemmani Pholsena, warned those involved that they would face penalties in line with the relevant laws as she detailed measures to address the issues that continue to be….

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New Law Promulgated To Regulate Alcoholic Beverages

A new law promulgated recently aims to better regulate alcoholic beverage businesses and their advertisements, hopefully preventing people from drinking to excess and lessening the resultant social and economic impacts.
According to Article 20 of the 26 page Law on Alcoholic Beverages, venues offering alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be located near healthcare and education centres, state offices, religious venues, embassies, public parks, opera houses, passenger vehicle stations, petrol stations, sports complexes and factories.
In addition, advertisements for alcoholic beverage products must not attempt to …..

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“Gout de France/Good France”: French Gastronomy Around The World

French gastronomy will be in the spotlight around the world on March 19 when the “Gout de France/Good France” evening rolls out in French restaurants and French embassies as 1,000 chefs prepare 1,000 dinners on five continents.
In Laos, many leaders are taking part in the operation, and gourmands will be able to sample the true flavours of French cuisine in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
March 19 has been chosen as the day for the worldwide premiere of this …..

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Couleur d’Asie – Store, Restaurant, Tea House and Art Gallery

Couleur d’Asie has been open in it’s current form since mid-2014 and while many people we have spoken to have heard of the French influenced venue there seem to be very few who have actually visited.
The owner of the store, Vivian Inthavong, has called Vientiane her home for many years and her range of experience in style and interior design are clear from the moment you enter. Officially promoted as a ‘concept store’, Couleur d’Asie has a lot to offer: ….

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Love Life Café: Home-Made Ice Cream, Cookies, Shakes, Paninis & Salads

There’s a charming little oasis in Vientiane that many of us visit to escape the doldrums of life…our little heaven of sorts where we get to learn to love life all over again. Tucked away at the end of Dongpalane, Love Life Ice Cream (or LLIC, as I conveniently call it) is the brainchild of cookie school teacher Fleur Varenne, a French-British transplant in Laos.
If you haven’t been to LLIC, get ready for a surprise. The ambience is bright, cheerful and ….

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Pizza Company To Open Third Branch At Dongdok

Pizza Company, a Thai franchise restaurant chain, plans to open another branch in Vientiane this year after achieving major business success over the past few years.
Express Group Laos, which runs the pizza outlets, told Vientiane Times that it planned to open its third branch and second Swensen’s ice cream franchise located at the National University of Laos’ Dongdok campus, aiming to attract young ……

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Makphet Restaurant Serves At New Location

Friends International announces the new location and trading hours of Award-Winning restaurant, Makphet in Vientiane, Laos. Now open 7 days a week !
Set in a French colonial building, Makphet is a family-friendly restaurant with a warm vibe. It features a spacious dining room and large garden for kids to play. The restaurant offers a mix of dining options; artisanal wood tables, cozy banquet seating, communal tables fashioned from reclaimed wood, and comfortable wooden chairs. An outdoor seating area in the lush garden is …..

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Spilling The Beans: Uncovering Vientiane’s Hidden Coffee Houses

The volcanic soil of the South around the Bolaven Plateau has made coffee one of Laos’ largest exports. Inside the country, a sophisticated coffee culture is growing. Sabaidee Magazine followed the beans to some of their lesser-known destinations in Vientiane, away from the daily grind.

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NA To Consider Law On Alcoholic Beverages

The Law on Alcoholic Beverage Control will be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration at the end of this year, aimed at reducing the rate of drinking related illness in the years to come.
The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with involved government, private and international organisations is drafting the law on alcohol control, which is expected to be presented to the assembly at the end of this year.
According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Laos ranks number …..

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Kualao Restaurant: Serving Authentic Lao Food

It was a breezy Saturday evening and we found ourselves at the Thatdam red light area at the brink of dusk. We looked to our left and there stood a humble house that carried a silent yet majestic aura reminiscent of a past French colonial era that dared to refuse the winds of time.
While the exterior edifice of the restaurant was French in nature, the interior whispered soft Lao overtones. We were quite taken aback as we witnessed the French façade fade away as our vision gave way to the ….

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Vientiane: Best Chinese Food Outside of China

Chinese businessmen taking advantage of Laos’ development boom are fueling demand for great, authentic regional cuisine.
Chinese businessmen arrive in Vientiane and many settle in the Chinese enclave just outside the city, Sanjiang Cheng (Three Rivers City). Here, they purchase Chinese goods, communicate in Mandarin and, of course, eat traditional Chinese food.
In other countries, Chinese food is heavily influenced by the host country’s native ingredients and preferences. In Laos, however, Chinese ingredients are often easy to acquire. These factors combine to make Vientiane one of the best places outside of China to sample China’s regional cuisines. You just have to know where to find it: …..

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Nam Phou: City Centre or Dumping Centre ?

Nam Phou, located in Vientiane’s city center, always has been a meeting place for local residents spending time relaxing and enjoying their free time. During French colonialism, the area was designed as a market before being developed into a fountain 50 years ago. One year ago, after being renovated, the Nam Phou fountain reopened to the public and international tourists.
Have you visited Nam Phou recently ? You will be surprised, guaranteed ! In every corner there are rubbish bags piling up and the public space is obstructed with metal structures for tents, wood and metal scrap. If that isn’t enough to scare of the visitors, the piled up chairs and tables (mostly all broken) will do the rest.
Before the redevelopment the Nam Phou was …..

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Parisien Café Vientiane

There is a new café & bakery in town … Parisien Café.
It’s the latest addition to the many coffee shops in Vientiane and for sure many Expats will try out Parisien Café as an alternative to Joma.
Parisien Café is large, offering lots of different kind of seating and the huge brick walls provide a cozy warm atmosphere. Very attractive is the display of the bakery products, offering a large variety of breads, pastries, cookies and muffins. Also on display are many delicious cakes and desserts.
I went for a Cappuccino (Kip 22,000) and a Custard …….

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Soho Si Muang – Pizzeria and Rotisserie

Soho Si Muang Pizzeria and Rotisserie is the new place to visit in town, especially if you are a pizza lover like me.
Soho Si Muang is managed by Van & Joseph, who have both been living for many years in Canada. They love sharing quality time with friends and family and combined with their passion for good food, they decided to move to Vientiane and open a Pizzeria and Rotisserie based on the same concept as seen in New York and Italy. Amir, the third Soho team member, is an experienced pizzaiolo who lived & worked for over 10 years in Italy.
As Soho Si Muang is located at J&C’s former office building, the entire J&C team assembled to taste Soho’s pizzas. We ordered ….

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Noodle House Vientiane

It’s my first time to write a review on a noodle shop, not because I don’t like pho or kao piak, but because I would feel strange writing about one of those side of the street shops where you sit on a stone bench and look into the begging eyes of a dog while trying to keep the flies away from your soup.
This review is different though, the Noodle House is a clean, stylish, fully air-conditioned restaurant, where clients are welcomed by friendly staff. The interior of Noodle House is very trendy & stylish (reminds me more of a bar than a noodle place), offering lots of space. The kitchen is open, so customers can actually watch the ……..

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Joma Bakery Café – That Luang

Did you know that there is a Joma III ? Honestly, I didn’t until yesterday …. I guess only a place like Joma can afford not advertising the opening of its new outlet 🙂
Joma That Luang features the same delicious menu as the other two Joma cafes in Vientiane, with a nice cozy ambiance. The That Luang outlet (or should I call it Joma III?), although smaller than the Namphou and Phonthan branches, offers the same comfortable sofas and their Wi-Fi is impressively fast.
This latest outlet will reinforce Joma being the first-choice lunch stop for many Expats living in Vientiane, especially with its location close to ….

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Restaurant Xang Ngun: Vientiane’s New Silver Platter

“There is something very unique about this restaurant,” I told myself the first time I walked into Xang Ngun. The grey-coloured tapestry covered in black flowers. The black metallic wall covered with mirrors. The mirror-covered ceiling. The modern-looking black chairs sitting under beautiful black and white ceramic tables. And a stand-out-flashy red bar lies in back, protected by two silver elephants, or in Lao, two Xang Ngun. It is all quite baroque really.
After having tried different plates and hors d’oeuvres, I can truly say the food is just as unique as the restaurant’s design. Although the food is based on Thai and Lao cuisine, Arnaud Poire, the head-chef and partial-owner, has found a way to add his own special touch ….

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Turkish Flavor In Vientiane: Restaurant Istanbul

When my buddy Ong suggested to have authentic Turkish food, I was actually surprised as I didn’t knew that such exists in Vientiane. The Istanbul Restaurant run by an elderly Turkish man who also happens to be the cook and cashier is located near to the Mekong River in the heart of Vientiane.
We were presented with well illustrated menus with pictures of Turkish food including descriptions. Having browsed the menu I noticed that there was lahmacun or Turkish pizza which I have never ever tried and a mouth watering list of doner kebab selections. In addition, there was even a page on the menu to cater for vegetarians comprising of falafel, imam bayildi, kizartma and pilav rice.
Ong recommended that I try the pita bread dipped in humus but since ……

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Berliner Bär Restaurant: Pork Knuckle, Sauerkraut and Paulaner Beer

With Germany winning the first 2 group matches of Euro 2012, I was quite ecstatic and impressed with anything German. Hence, this led to my craving for anything of German nature which subsequently led me to the Berliner Bär Pub for one of my dinners.
We decided to have a go at the Berlin curry wurst with potato salad and pork knuckle with French fries and sauerkraut. While awaiting our dinner we decided to also quench our thirst with German beer.
I did notice that the walls hardly displayed anything German unlike typical restaurants. Neither was there any German music or other paraphernalia. However, after a few sips of fine Paulaner beer they hardly made any difference as I was here to relish the triumph of Germany.
After both our dishes arrived I immediately tucked into the …..

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Dante & Da Vinci At Black Canyon Coffee

Following up on my previous article regarding the first establishment of the Black Canyon Coffee Restaurant in Laos , I recently took my dinner there. I was generally impressed with the interior and decorations within the premises. We were immediately whisked to a table for two and served by one of the many male waiters who immediately passed us the food and drinks menu right after we were seated.
The laminated menu are fully illustrated with all photos of soup, sandwiches, salads, spicy salads, appetizers, a la carte, curries/soups, noodles, pasta, steaks, rice dishes and there was even a section for Lao delights. Most items on offer have actual photographs and this did indeed titillate my taste buds prior to my dinner.

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Sabaidee Shabu Shabu

Conveniently located at the Samsenthai road, Sabaidee Shabu Shabu is a buffet restaurant where you can eat as much as you would like.
Most of the food comes to the customer through a conveyor belt with small plates carrying vegetables, fish and meat. The quality of the food on the conveyor belt is good and even the generally more expensive fish, seafood and shrimp is widely available.

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Chokdee – A Taste Of Belgium On The Mekong

I’ll come clean and say that I don’t have much familiarity with Belgian cuisine, but fortunately the general manager and chief investor in the cafe, Vincent Wirtgen, was there to take me on a culinary journey.

It doesn’t take long looking in from the street to see that the place is bustling with activity and an inviting warmly lit atmosphere with icons of Belgian popular culture and a view of the Mekong. What’s remarkable in this location is that the vast majority of his clientele are residents rather than travelers a fact that sets it apart from many establishments in the area.

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Nadao Brings Fine Dining to Pakse

Many Vientiane residents may still harbor fond memories of delicious three course meals at Nadao, the flashy French restaurant which served up many a business lunch and romantic dinner back in its Vientiane heyday. Unfortunately for Nadao, construction of the Prime Minister’s Office in Vientiane meant that the restaurant had to move elsewhere: and that turned out to be the rapidly growing city of Pakse. When you note the development going on in Pakse, it doesn’t seem a silly place for a runaway French restaurant. A trip to Pakse now offers plenty of choice for turgid tastebuds with two Indian restaurants, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, various bakeries and cafes and of course fine french cuisine at Nadao.

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Wine 95 A Good Drop in Vientiane

Wine 95 is the newest wine bar in Vientiane and has opened up between Jazzy Brick and Jules Classic Bike Rentals. Coincidence? Not at all. Wine 95 is the latest creation of those behind Phimphone Market and Benoni Cafe as well as Vansom Wine Shop. The name is in celebration of the year that the owner first started his wine import business: 1995. Everything these guys do, they do well, and Wine 95 is no exception.

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Fuji The New Favourite Japanese in Vientiane

Fuji is the latest in a series of Thai restaurant chains to open a franchise in Laos. After much fanfare and an action-packed, star studded Grand Opening, I went to visit the restaurant last week to see what the fuss was all about. From the moment I walked in the door I found that it consistently and overwhelmingly exceeded expectations, from the first kimono-clad waitress to the last mouthful of lightning-fast sashimi.

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Rashmi’s Plaza Hotel

For a long time I would drive past the construction site of Rashmi’s Plaza Hotel every day watching the massive megalith slowly take form. Suddenly one day it opened, replete with flashing silver spirit houses guarding the front entrance and sparkling tower adorning the top. After often wondering what the interior would be like, J&C was lucky enough to receive a guided tour just last week.

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Empty Talat Sao Mall Officially Opens

When reading in the local newspaper that the Morning Market Talat Sao mall 2 was officially opened on Friday, 11 November 2011, I was curious to see for myself if the new mall would meet everybody’s high expectations.
Visiting the mall this Saturday, I was rather disappointed, as only a few stores on the first and second level of the mall are occupied; everything else is still vacant or under construction. The “official opening of a shopping mall still under construction” would have been more appropriate as a headline.
However, looking at it from a more positive angle, once the mall is complete and functional (meaning all stores are occupied and open to the public) it will definitely be “the” place to visit in Vientiane

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Via Via Pizzeria

One place that I overlooked for years and only recently came to know and love is Via Via. The atmosphere reminds me somewhat of Vang Vieng; busy and bustling, full of tourists and giving quick in-and-out service. Tables stretch from inside the restaurant all the way to the pavement outside and patrons are kept cool by standing fans. The pizza bases are made out back, but toppings and baking is done in the middle of the restaurant in full view of customers so you can literally watch your pizza being cooked.

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Restaurant L’Adresse: Your New Address for Fine Food

The new L’Adresse really is an address you’ll want to look up for your next night out. In complete contrast to the previous locale, the new design sees a more modern, casual dining space which is conducive to conversation rather than stifling it. Painted brick interior walls part at the kitchen where patrons may view the chef, Tinay, hard at work in what looks like a top-notch and professional kitchen.
Elsewhere wines are displayed in an interesting glass exhibit cooled by a very obvious A/C Unit and if you can’t find the massive menu then you probably need glasses. Table settings are stylish, with modish egg-chairs that are certainly unique but also extremely ……

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Weirdest Dinner in Vientiane, Guaranteed!

Pyongyang Restaurant is actually one of a chain of restaurants opening around Asia that are owned and run by the North Korean government. There are a myriad of rumours all over the internet surrounding the motives behind the restaurant chain, but I will leave this to your private research. Suffice to say, the place is very odd!

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Signing in at La Signature

The Ansara Hotel, built in 2010 but designed to look much older, has added its own allure to the already charming Wat Chan Lane, home to many colonial era buildings and a nighttime stroll along this laneway is a wonderful precursor to your upcoming meal. When you arrive at Ansara’s big double-doors, expect to be greeted by attentive staff who’ll guide you to your table at La Signature, the hotel’s French restaurant.

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YoQueen Frozen Yoghurt

Going to YoQueen on Sunday afternoon, the shop was fully of young Lao people, but also some expats. The interior design is a fresh (and healthy) green, with comfortable indoor seating places, whilst the outdoor area featured small round tables and chairs. The perfect place to spend some time while enjoying a refreshing treat !

There is a large menu to choose from including Frozen Yoghurt “Original”, “Parfait”, “Green Tea”, “Smoothies” and “Shaved Ice”. They all come with a large selection of toppings like Strawberry, Mango, Chocolate, Blueberry, Mixed Fruit, Kiwi, Peach, and many more

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Patu Xay Cafe

Often forgotten when people wrack their brains as to where to eat, Patuxay Cafe opened its first outlet on Sibounheung Road last year and it has been the restaurant of choice for many a business lunch ever since.

The cafe serves a wonderful variety of sandwiches, salads, cakes and other baked goods and their coffee is very nice, as is their broad range of fruit shakes, smoothies and juices.

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L’Atmosphere French Restaurant

Expect the unexpected when visiting Vientiane’s new L’atmosphere French restaurant; this is a very interesting place indeed. At first glance L’Atmosphere looks incredibly makeshift, like it was plonked together over a weekend and furnished with chairs and tables that fell off the back of a truck. Then, upon second glance…

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Benoni Cafe

As if by providence, shortly after our survey results showed Pimphone Market to have the best coffee in town, the owners of the market’s coffee shop extended the cafe from a small corner in the market to the full upstairs floor.
The area that formally housed Chez Phillipe (who has now opened Bistro 22 opposite the Catholic church) is now the latest coffee shop in town – ‘Benoni’ – which has become a new meeting point for expats and locals alike.

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Common Grounds Cafe

Common Grounds Cafe and Bakery is a newly opened cafe located in the middle of town on the road leading to Senglao DVD between Inter City Hotel and La Gondola. I visited it in the morning last week and even then it was attracting quite a few customers, mainly tourists, but also one expat mother who let her kids loose on the indoor playground.

A word that came to mind upon my first impression of the place was ‘jomesque’: because it bears a huge resemblance to the original and still dominant Lao cafe chain.

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Say Amen to Good Ramen

Whilst there are a growing number of Japanese restaurants in Vientiane, Ramen fans will be pleased to know that there is now a restaurant devoted entirely to Ramen! Newly opened Sagano Ramen and Cafe is situated above Xayoh Grill House opposite the cultural hall.

Sagano is in its opening week and most definitely going strong. I went there during the lunch rush and found the place crammed with patrons waiting to try their first bowl.

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Do You Like Nem Neung?

Nem Neung (sometimes spelled Nam Neuang or Nam Nuong) is a refreshing dish of Vietnamese origin that combines fresh salad, white rice noodles and pork sausages. Typically, local people in Laos will purchase their Nem Neung at a shop and take it back home to enjoy together.
A relatively new shop on Thadeua Rd at KM3, however, has a very clean restaurant where people have begun eating-in.

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Ban Moon Restaurant

Ban Moon Restaurant and Beer Garden is a true-blue Aussie ‘home-style’ restaurant set in the garden terrace of Barry and his wife’s Vientiane home.
As you walk in you will be greeted by Barry with a nod and a handshake and ushered to your seat for possibly the coldest beer in Laos. And this is what makes the place so great; it’s comfort food in a comfortable setting.

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