Looking to be a more conscious consumer in Vientiane? Sabaidee Magazine guides you through some of the organic shops and products around town that can help you make your diet more environmentally and socially friendly, as well as healthy and delicious! For some general information about supporting organic producers in Laos visit www.laosorganic.com.
AgroAsie was born in 2010 as a social enterprise looking to help subsistence farmers in disadvantaged Sangthong district make a living. The organisation was founded on the principles of sustainability and fair trade, and focuses on growing organic local produce and supporting the livelihoods of local farmers. AgroAsie’s products include brown and white rice, beans, herbs, tea and a wide range of fruits and veggies, which can be purchased from the downtown storefront. The shop also sells a variety of other locally made organic products. The company also offers a weekly delivery service for those who want a basket of the week’s fresh organic food delivered to their home. Call or stop in at the store to place an order for delivery. The baskets run at 70,000, 80,000, or 100,000 kip depending on size, which is inclusive of delivery fees.
T: 20 751 6476 A: Rue Chao Anou (next to Common Grounds café) W: www.agroasie.com Open: Monday-Friday 9am-7pm
Xao Ban, perhaps best known for the delicious fruit yogurts found in refrigerators around town, began as a women’s cooperative. The small organisation now supports local farmers to make a range of healthy, organic and delicious foods. In addition to the popular yogurts, Xao Ban products include fruit drinks, cheese, jams, dips, honey, salads and more, which can be purchased from a many local minimarts, groceries and M-Point marts as well as from the new Xao Ban shop.
T: 21 452 900; 20 240 3415 A: Saphonthong Tai village (near VIS) W: www.xaoban.com Open: Daily 10am-7pm
Vientiane Organic Market
If you’re looking to buy fresh, in-season produce directly from the farmers, look no further than the popular Vientiane Organic Market. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings local organic-certified producers can be found selling their goods on the concrete esplanade in front of That Luang Stupa, from 6am until noon. Arrive early for a better selection, as vendors often sell out before the market is finished! This is a great place to shop for the week while also meeting the local producers and finding out more about how their products are grown and how they make a living. An organic market also runs on Monday afternoons from 1pm to 6pm in Chao Fa Ngum park.
A: Wednesday & Saturday in front of That Luang, Monday at Chao Fa Ngum Park W: www.facebook.com/vientiane.organic.market Open: Wednesday & Saturday 6am-noon, Monday 1pm-6pm (different location)
On The Shelf
To complete your organic shopping trip, many shops and minimarts around town stock a variety of other locally made organic products to add to your shopping list. The Lao Farmer’s Products brand is created by an organic fair trade cooperative responsible for many different products, including jams, rice and honey, among others. The well-known Lao Mountain Coffee brand works directly with Lao farmers to create several blends of locally-grown organic roasts. Newcomer Spiruline du Laos produces an organically farmed algae – a protein-packed “superfood” with many dietary uses.
Look out for these organic brands at Simeuang, Phimphone, M-Point, and many of the other minimarts around Vientiane.
Spiruline du Laos: www.facebook.com/sdlaos
Lao Farmer’s Products: www.laofarmersproducts.com/
Lao Mountain Coffee: A: (wholesale and large purchases) Nongbone Road Monday-Friday 8:30-11:30am, 1:30-3:30pm W: www.laomountain.com T: 021 412 529
This article was originally printed in Sabaidee Magazine, Issue 20, September 2014. You can pick up Sabaidee Magazine free from cafes, restaurants, spas and hotels across Vientiane, and stay up to date with their latest articles and local events through their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sabaideemagazine.
Words by Hannah McDonald-Moniz, Photos by Rachel Arbing