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. Upon having seated in the restaurant 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.
The menu also provides the option of any main entree to be served with fries instead of rice for an extra 8,000 kip. Additional freshly baked pita bread cost only 8,000 kip per piece.
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 I’m on a dieting regime I ordered instead a beef shish kebab (as lamb was unavailable at that juncture) wrapped in pita bread with garlic sauce and salad that cost 49,000 kip while Ong ordered the falafel served in pita bread with garlic sauce and salad that cost 40,000 kip. For our drinks we settled for a mango Ayran and a salty Ayran.
Within minutes, we were served our Aryan and I discovered that mine was not as sweet as expected while I found Ong’s Aryan tasted as if it was mixed with seawater from the Dead Sea. However, he did enjoy his salty delight while we chatted as we await our main entrees to be served which was not long as well. As I tucked into my kebab I was smitten with the tender, fresh juicy pieces of the meat which blended perfectly with a small mouthful of pita bread garnished with onions & carrots. Ong shared one of his four his falafels with me and although the falafel was a little dry his meal was as also as enjoyable with every mouthful of pita bread with falafel.
Having settled the bill after a scrumptious dinner I do admit I have never seen a menu with such a comprehensive list and descriptions of Turkish food in Lao and prior to finishing my meal I was already contemplating to visit this place again in the near future in order to try for myself other such exotic dishes especially the lamb shish kebab. I also did contemplate trying out Ong’s recommendation of his low fat vegetarian meal.
For the restaurant’s location click here; their phone number is 021 218 320