“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.
This new restaurant specializes in seafood and fish, following Lao and Thai cuisine. The fish includes snapper, salmon and red tuna laap. The average price range is between 35,000 – 60,000 kip, with the exclusion of a few more high-end platters. All products are MSG-free and cooked with natural rice oil.
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.
“When David and I first had the idea to open a new restaurant, we wanted to create something Vientiane has never seen before. But, at the same time, create an environment where we feel comfortable to work in as well,” said Poire.
Xang Ngun is owned by Poire and David Limodin. Poire is also the owner of Xang Khoo (Twin Elephant) restaurant close to Nam Phou square. Limodin owns a service company and has been in Lao for many years.
“Xang Ngun will include a second-floor for more private events. We also will have our very own wine cellar to insure our wine is kept at the perfect temperature at all time. This is not an easy task here in Vientiane when power-outages are so frequent,” said Limodin with a chuckle.
If you visit Xang Ngun on different days of the week, as I did, you will also notice the waitresses do in fact wear different colour assembles, depending on the day of the week. They have a silver outfit, a red outfit and a black one, the official colours for Xang Ngun.
So if you are crossing the border for a visa run, in town as a tourist or a resident of Vientiane and you are in the mood to try and experience something new, Xang Ngun is located on Ponsinuang road, close to the Thai consulate. The kitchen is open every day from 11:00-15:00 and 17:30-22:30 (note: you can show up at 22:25, these hours are for the kitchen and not the restaurant itself). Phone #: 030 9866861
by Kevyn McGraw