There’s one Lao dish that reigns supreme over them all – I’m talking about laap.

The mix of meat – both cooked or raw, vibrant herbs, mouth flaming chilies, lime juice, sticky rice powder, and often some bile to spruce things up. This combination of wonders is something Laos should be proud of.

In this article I am going to share with you the details of an amazing restaurant in Vientiane that serves one of the best plates of Laotian laap you’ll ever eat.

best laap Vientiane
Laap Moo, Herb-Heavy Pork Salad found at Pha Kham Than Restaurant

Pa Kham Than Restaurant, authentic local food in Laos’ capital city – Vientiane.

It was lunchtime on our final day, and still a long list of places people had recommended to us, but this is truly one of the best restaurants we ate at in Vientiane.

We were hungry for a certain plate of Laap (you might also see laap written commonly in English as larb or laab, but really laap is the most accurate Romanized translation of the Laos word) and though not a rare dish, we wanted one with a few special ingredients – a perfect plate, specifically including bile.

A recommendation from a fellow foodie and new friend Joe turned out to be marvelous, so let me quickly say a big thank you.

It might seem that a restaurant specializing in digestive juices would be tough to come across… but not here! Laos’ cuisine does a wonderful job of using every single part of an animal, literally from head to toe, nose to tail.

Laotian food
A mix of meat and herb

Now for the food.

Getting straight to business, this restaurant doesn’t play around. The menu has less than a dozen items on it, and that includes the drinks.

We ordered some fried pork, a bowl of sour bitter soup, a plate of blanched cow intestines, and several different kinds of Laap. All that you need on a warm day in Laos, but be sure to clear your afternoon schedule because after a meal like this, you are going to want to just sit and smile awhile.

Big strips of pork, grilled to perfection.

A cold BeerLao is always a great mid-day treat, and we shared a bottle of it while building our excitement for this lunchtime throw-down feast.

The dishes began to arrive, starting with the Moo Yang – grilled marinated pieces of pork, but this plate also including a few special organs.

You would struggle to find a better beer snack than this dish right here. It made us even more hungry for the coming plates of Laap.

Next came the Sin Luak, blanched intestines, so delightfully chewy.

The meat is cut thin but dipped in boiling water so quickly that it retains a soft, near-raw texture. The plate came with a complete mix of parts and we got some sections of intestine, a bit of rubbery stomach, and a several rich bites of liver.

Lao food
Pork and organs in this laap

And now, finally, the dish we had traveled for – Laap Pia, the familiar pork salad flavored by a ladle full of green and brown digestive juices, the cow bile so loved by both the heart and tongue of Laos people.

By the time we arrived, early in the afternoon, they had already sold out of the raw version. So we settled for the cooked pork laap, not a bad thing to settle for.

The powerful bitterness was backed by a slow-burn from those entire raw chilis. Roasted rice powder gives the dish a smoky aroma, several squeezes of lime makes the tongue tingle, and a small mountain of local herbs,  including heaps of Laos mint and culantro, keeps things fresh and wonderfully fragrant.

The Laap Pia

Each bite only made my mouth water more, and it was with a joyful and steady smile as I reached with my sticky rice for a second helping.

When you’re dealing with an ingredient as heavy as the digestive fluid of a ruminant, it takes true chef’s skills to keep the rest of the dish in balance. You should order a kratip (Laos basket used for sticky rice) of sticky rice too, not only for something to help you grab more Laap, but also for use as fire insurance.

I shed more than a few tears, I was simply elated – both the bitterness of juicy bile and the oil from so many chili seeds bringing the taste-abilities of my tongue to screaming new levels.

Such meaty bites of pork bathing in this sour Tom Som soup.

The soup came at last, and it gave some balance to the meal, it was a sour Tom Som (just means ‘sour soup).

I could taste each part amidst the meaty soup stock, so hot and so sour while also feeling very nutritious.  No need for adding coconut milk, extra salt or sugar, the wholly natural ingredients give each dish all the flavor power they need.

Do yourself a favor and order at least one dish as a Pia the next time you’re sitting down for a feast of Laos beloved Laap.

4 plates of meat and 1 soup – we ordered half of the menu!

Our bill came to a total of 123,000 LAK ($14.80), which I thought was a bit cheaper actually than comparable dishes we ordered during this recent trip to Laos.

The dishes here are arguably similar to those found in the Thai Esaan region, however the proportions the chef uses here, and the herb content, are what blew my tastebuds away.

Pa Kham Than Restaurant offers an outstanding example of the ingenuity of Lao food culture, a truly perfect display of laap – one of the ultimate dishes of Laotion cuisine.

Wait for the upcoming videos showing even more delicious Laos food, or check out another Vientiane local meat hot spot we visited, Anna Grilled Duck Restaurant, or 12 Laos Dishes you Need to Eat.

best restaurants in Vientiane
Here’s the restaurant you’re looking for

How to get there:

There’s no address listed, though I’ve plotted it myself on Google Maps, but on Facebook you can find a map (Laap Pa Kham Tan). The location is in a neighborhood very close to the Patuxay Monument, on the same road as the Vietnam Embassy. Look for a big Samsung store on the corner.

Opening Hours: Breakfast and Lunch (we were the final customers for the day, and we left at 2pm)
Prices: 20,000 LAK per plate for most meat dishes.

Also, be sure to check out my Vientiane travel guide for helpful information about your trip.

58 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Ali

    3 weeks ago

    Hi Mark, my name is Ali from Iran. I know many people in Iran like you and your films. I am also one of your fans, please visit Iran and write an article about our foods.
    Thank you for this nice article. we love you

  • Alberto Andrio

    1 month ago

    Thanks For sharing Such informative things among us that will help the readers a lot. I am very much agree.

  • A Couple for the Road

    1 month ago

    Unreal how much value you can get in terms of food quality for the cost… the photos are really, really remarkable. Love the post!

  • day outing near delhi

    2 months ago

    great and mouthwatering post you have written well i will try to visit there once thanks a lot

  • Silver Service 24×7 Cabs

    2 months ago

    Hi Mark,
    The Asian food taste much better then other like its little spicy and your tongue never forgot the taste of it.

  • Rambharat

    2 months ago

    Hiii,
    Great article! All the articles you have, they enjoy reading and learning a lot. Your article is very helpful for me. I hope you will continue to write such good articles as well.

    Thank you

  • Ekta Kapoor

    4 months ago

    Wow…hey Mark, I’m new here but I must confess I’m love already, with your enthusiasm for local foods and culture. That’s remarkable,
    This food really looks spicy, I wonder how you were able to cope with it all. Amazing!

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Hi Ekta, welcome to the site! Actually Laos food was not nearly as spicy as Thai, so I am used to it here. Thanks for writing, have a great day!

  • Lai Chan

    4 months ago

    Saibadee Mark! I love your energy, your passions for food and your enthusiasm about the local culture and mostly the people you have met along your journeys. Thanks for sharing your video about Laos. I am from Laos but left my homeland at the age of 7. So I don’t remember anything but thanks to you, I wanted to go back to visit. Keep doing what you do because so many people like this type of adventures and get to share the experience that you take us through your journeys. If I do decided to go visit Laos, I will definitely go to all the places you’ve recommended in your video.

  • Elizabeth Higgins

    4 months ago

    After reading through the post, I got curious as to how the raw version of the Laap Pia looks like, Mark. And man was I blown away! I honestly don’t know if I would dare myself to eat it or just settle with the cooked version. I have met a few Laotian friends and I am excited yet nervous for our upcoming get-together. By the way, your pictures of the other dishes make them look so enticing. I love spicy foods but am hoping theirs won’t be too spicy for my taste.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      That sounds amazing, I would love to join you! Yes, the Laap Pia might look intimidating, but it is absolutely wonderful.

  • Ankara gezilecek yerler

    5 months ago

    Oh my god! I just ate my dinner and I was browsing your blog. Now I feel hungry again. Look what you have done! ???? I am very fond of Sandwiches and this one look yummy. I can’t help wondering its taste. Lucky you!

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Thats awesome Ankara 🙂 . Thanks for writing (dont get too hungry!)

  • Nick Kembel

    5 months ago

    OMG the fresh herbs in that laap look SO good. Any idea if they do a vegetarian version?

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Hi Nick, actually there are wonderful versions I have had in Bangkok using mushrooms, and/or tofu, try Laab Het (thats the mushroom version), I had it near the Pahurat area of BKK. In Laos its a bit harder to find veg/jae/vegan friendly restaurants, but if you take the time to explain then I guarantee you will find chefs ready to accommodate any diet. Laos are some of the most friendly people in the world.

      • Nick Kembel

        3 weeks ago

        Thanks for your reply!! Will definitely seek out next time in SE Asia!

  • amazon

    5 months ago

    This plate looks amazing ! I miss Asia so much for the food !
    Here in South America it’s not that fancy

  • Stephen Robert

    5 months ago

    Waw! it’s looking very delicious ????????

  • Marie

    6 months ago

    I’ve been to this restaurant actually! Great reading this article; bringing back some good memories to my time in Vientiane.

  • Rakesh Khushwaha

    6 months ago

    Waw! this is really amazing blog very entertaining, Thank you for sharing????????

  • Keith

    6 months ago

    Laap is a favorite of mine, though I can’t take the truly spicy versions. I have a couple recipes that I have made in the past. However, none quite live up to the versions I got in Laos. Any tips on making it?

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Thats a great idea Keith, I really should make a video of Laap. So far I have really only done some Central and Southern Thai dishes, but there is a video for Som Tam. But you’re totally right, Som Tam in Laos is just incredible!

  • Jenny

    6 months ago

    The food looks so yummy, perfect for a foodie like me… Do they serve chicken?

  • Hiroko

    6 months ago

    Hi Mark, I have lived in Vientiane for 3 years. I really enjoyed your recent videos of Lao food. I know most of the food is super spicy to most of non-Lao people including me, but how come you have such a resistance to the heat? I liked watching you eating a full scoop of Lao chilies, but I don’t want you to give others an wrong idea that Lao food is “just a little bit spicy”. I think I have an ordinal taste bud for the spices and I can take only half a chili in the papaya salad, while the average Lao papaya salad has 10 chilies in it. Do you think you may want to say something like, “I like to put a lot of chilies but this may be very spicy for most of you.”? Maybe it helps the viewers guess how spicy the food here is.

    I am leaving the country in 2 months and your videos introduced me some new food I haven’t seen before. So thank you very much for coming here. Hope you feel like coming to my next country some time!

  • William K.

    6 months ago

    My wife is from Vientiane. Every trip I take with her home is an culinary adventure. There are so many different foods to choose from, from the morning khao jii pate, the mid day bowl of steaming pho, to an afternoon banquet at the Kong View on the shore of the mighty Mekong River. Everyday a different dish, a different taste, a world of flavors to experience all in one city. Whether you choose to dine in a fancy sit-down restaurant, a quaint roadside eatery or on a boat floating down the Nam Ngum, you will not be disappointed you came to Vientiane Laos.

  • Chor Lee

    6 months ago

    Hi Mark, thank you for this amazing Episode. Laos is my home country and I haven’t been back there for 25 years. Watching your videos on Laos brings back memories. The food looks so natural as if I’ve been eating that all my life. Hopefully I can make my way there sooner than later.
    From central Wisconsin, THANK YOU.

  • Marisse

    6 months ago

    Thank you for featuring the delicious food of Vientiane, Laos.
    I was born there.. I have a Filipino father and a Thai mother. I’m now based in the Philippines. Going back to Vientiane is one of my bucket lists.

  • V

    6 months ago

    Hey Mark i didn’t realise that the thai and lao language was very similar until i watched these videos and looked on Wikipedia. Do you think it would still be OK to go around vientiane without knowing the language?

  • Peter

    7 months ago

    Hi Mark
    I have never eaten anything cooked in bile! Is it the most bitter thing you’ve eaten?

  • Behnam

    7 months ago

    Great as always

  • Tim

    7 months ago

    This plate looks amazing ! I miss Asia so much for the food !
    Here in South America it’s not that fancy 🙁

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Thanks Tim, glad you enjoy Asian food so much too.

  • Freda

    7 months ago

    The herbs, mixed with spicy, meaty stuff …yummy!

  • Anisa

    7 months ago

    A question mark, do they serve a chicken laap?

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Hey Anisa, they do at some places, but I believe here it was only pork and beef.

  • Jenny

    7 months ago

    14 bucks for all this amazing food sounds like a good deal to me 😀 Can’t wait to visit Laos myself.

  • Orawan

    7 months ago

    Hello Mark and your quitie family’s.
    Thank you very much for sharing all of these yummy food from all around the world and I am just loving it.
    May GOD Blass you all.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Hi Orawan, you’re welcome, and thank you very much for your support. Hope you and your family are well.

  • Max Scott

    7 months ago

    Thanks a lot for sharing this perfect experience. I really appreciate your time and efforts for writing such a interesting article.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Hey Max, you’re welcome, thanks for reading. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Bertahan

    7 months ago

    I plan to go to Laos later this year and I’m a big foodie. I will definitely be trying Laap out! Thanks for the restaurant tip.

  • Keerthivasan

    7 months ago

    Hi Mark, I am a huge fan of your work. I have watched all your videos from beginning. Enjoyed every bit of it. Say hi to mica and ying. I have been to lao but never tried this restaurant. I love duck. Will try on next trip. Godspeed to you and your family.

  • Matilda

    7 months ago

    I wish I knew about this place before my trip to Vientiane. Hopefully I can go back to try laap one day.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Thanks Matilda, so much good food in Vientiane.

  • behnam

    7 months ago

    Hi, I am the name of Binhāmam. I am one of your fans. I have seen many of your films and I heard you want to go to Iran, is this news correct? I heard the news that I was very happy to come to Iran … please, if you saw my comment ………….. Thank you. _ Behnam

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Hey Binhāmam, great to hear from you, thank you very much. Yes, I would love to visit Iran. Thanks and hope you’re doing well.

      • behnam

        7 months ago

        Hello mark,Thankyou for recpect to opinion and answer the comments.
        thanks a lot for answer my comments.
        Behnam

  • Birsel Gülmüş

    7 months ago

    I just saw your video from your food experience you describe. It’s almost midnight in Switzerland and we had a busy day preparing for Easter for my boyfriend who is a catholic. We just came home from church. But I was anticipating the whole day to see your vlog so I watched otherwise I can’t sleep! Thank you for your efforts????????????????????????????????
    Lots of love to Ying and Micah and to you.
    Birsel

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Thank you very much Birsel, really appreciate your watching. Happy Easter to you and your family!

  • Nelson King

    7 months ago

    All that green. Wow! This is one of those places where you go on a binge and still feel awesome afterwards. The food with all that green looks amazing!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 months ago

      Right about that Nelson, an amazing place, meaty but light and herb filled.