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.

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

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  • William K.

    4 days 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

    1 week 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

    1 week 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

    1 week 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

    2 weeks ago

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

  • Behnam

    2 weeks ago

    Great as always

  • Tim

    2 weeks ago

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

    • Mark Wiens

      2 weeks ago

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

  • Freda

    3 weeks ago

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

  • Anisa

    3 weeks ago

    A question mark, do they serve a chicken laap?

    • Mark Wiens

      2 weeks ago

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

  • Jenny

    3 weeks ago

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

  • Orawan

    3 weeks 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

      2 weeks ago

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

  • Max Scott

    3 weeks ago

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

    • Mark Wiens

      3 weeks ago

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

  • Bertahan

    3 weeks 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

    3 weeks 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

    3 weeks 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

      3 weeks ago

      Thanks Matilda, so much good food in Vientiane.

  • behnam

    3 weeks 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

      3 weeks 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

        3 weeks ago

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

  • Birsel Gülmüş

    4 weeks 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.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 weeks ago

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

  • Nelson King

    4 weeks 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

      3 weeks ago

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