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Aug 05

Restaurant les Trois Nagas, Luang Prabang

I didn’t expect to do a restaurant review for Laos and even less expected to associated “fine dining” with it. Nonetheless, there’s a reasonable facsimile of the concept in Luang Prabang. Restaurant les Trois Nagas is attached to the expensive Auberge les Trois Nagas hotel in a quiet part of town, just up the road from the night markets. It seems quite out of place because it manages to pass itself off as an upmarket western restaurants. Trilingual waiters (speaking Lao, English and French) pull out chairs for customers, the menu is typo-free (also in English, French and transliterated Lao) and tables are double tableclothed. It’s the small details that count.

On offer is a seven course set menu. Complimentary rice cakes arrive soon after you sit down, and then two entrees kick off the meal – either an egg omelette with dill or a Lao salad, and an egg sausage soup. Very tasty. The main meal comes with three dishes – generous servings of a beef, steamed chicken, and vegetables which includes some local yellow mushrooms. The beef, although still quite tough, is a little more tender than the beef elsewhere in town (I wouldn’t recommend the beef anywhere in the town). The rice is also soft, fluffy, and without the strong floury smell given off by the other restaurants. Finally, a tropical fruit salad (rambutans, longans, mango, nashi pears, etc) comes served in a Martini glass. They also have a well stocked wine list.

At US$12 per person, it’s about four times as expensive as an ordinary meal for tourists, but in terms of western dollars, it’s a real bargain. (Although the 330ml bottle of Perrier water selling for US$3 is not.) Very much recommended.

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