Vientiane might be one of the jewels of Laos. Beating heart and capital of the country, Vientiane is laid back, slow, and welcoming. The Mekong running at its side separates it from Thailand, from which it is so close but also so far. Part of the old Isan culture found as well in Northern Thailand, Vientiane has its proper character and so many things to offer to the traveler.
Amongst its marvels, you will encounter the Lao style arch of Patuxay, and the monument of independence built in the 1960s – Phra That Luang, the golden stupa shining under the Laotian sun, plus many other temples competing for the most glittering and the most marvelous decoration.
The options to sleep and eat are quite vast in the tourist area of Vientiane, close to the Mekong banks, but if you step slightly outside of the centre, you might find a very unique place incorporating the art of the traditional Lao cuisine and the art of photography… Hidden in the small Rue Phagna Sy is settled the restaurant Kongkhao, in a traditional Lao wooden house surrounded by one of the most gorgeous and luxurious gardens in town.
Run by Darinka, an Italian “professional traveller” who finally decided to settle in her beloved Vientiane, Kongkhao offers a rare selection of tremendous Lao cuisine, which will please the most exigent food lovers. On the menu, all the best traditional dishes are to be found, from appetizers such as Sai Kok (Lao sausage), to main dishes like Nam Khao – crispy fried rice ball with lettuce salad. The restaurant has an elaborate menu offering only the best that Lao cuisine has to provide. If you don’t really know what to choose, simply try the selection of traditional tastes for a mini culinary trip around all the regions of Laos!
So grab a seat under the palm trees in the garden, and inquire as to which one of these delights will enlighten your day. After your meal, step inside the house and discover Darinka’s photography skills through a permanent exhibition of portraits of people she met travelling.
Some histories are simply inspirational, and the history of the restaurant Kongkhao is definitely one of these. From a long travel with almost no money, to the settlement of one of the best restaurants in Vientiane, Darinka has done it the long way round! If she’s around, just take a moment to chat with her, and mix the freshness of your meal with the freshness of the way she sees life… You may have a winner in this cocktail!
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