Hot Pot – a popular dining address for gastronomes

In Vientiane, Hot Pot is a famed address for serving delicious food and many vouch for its yummy recipes. The food chain launched its services in Xieng Khuang province in Paek district last year and this restaurant, too, has become equally popular.
The restaurant is a source of pride for the people of Xieng Khuang in northern Laos. If you are in town be sure to get directed to this eatery if you ask for recommendations. Hot Pot is locally known as Xinchoum.

The Xieng Khuang bird served at the restaurant is a hit with  diners.

With the onset of the winter season this is the best time to head to Hot Pot for a hot bowl of soup. It is not difficult to find this place as it is centrally located. It is famous for its raw meats, vegetables, eggs added to boiling broth – which are nourishing for the body and not just great to taste.
The restaurant owner, Mr Chanthachone Sisomphone, said every day about 70 people have dinner at Hot Pot. The price is comparable to other restaurants in Vientiane. But what gives this restaurant an edge over its competitors is it serves organic vegetables.
“In addition, we also have an A La Carte menu such as Koi Pa, which is eaten with rice and fresh vegetables, including salads. Koi Pa is made from fresh fish, cut into small pieces and then blanched in boiling water,” he said.
“The restaurant also serves wild vegetables,” he said.
The owner revealed some secret recipes of popular dishes - such as the larvae of wasp, which are hatched from the nest. The ovaries of the larvae are sold in the markets from September to January, but this restaurant serves this delicacy through the year.
Xieng Khuang bird is another famous dish on the menu. This local food is popular in this province.
Though vendors in Xieng Khuang’s markets import Swallows from Vietnam to meet the growing demand, the owner does not source his birds from Vietnam even though their populations are on the decline in Laos.
The Swallow, locally known as Nok Aen Toung, is a speciality found only in Xieng Khuang and one of the many exotic foods the province is famous for.
The Swallows from Vietnam do not have the same salty taste and the birds are smaller in size too, and they are not as tasty as Xieng Khuang’s Swallows. There are a lot of Swallows in Vietnam as Vietnamese folk don’t eat this bird.
Mr Chanthachone said his wife is the chef at the restaurant and he takes care of the customers as she runs the kitchen.
“Often his wife is mistaken for a cook, however, everyone vouches for her great cooking skills,” the owner chuckled.
Xieng Khunag has changed from how it was a decade ago. There are many hotels, guesthouses and restaurants with the streets getting livelier in Paek district.
By road it takes about six hours to reach Xieng Khuang province from Vientiane. The route through Borikhamxay is much shorter than travelling via the winding and mountainous Road 13 North through Phoukhoun.
A 29-km section of the road in Borikhamxay province that links the two northern provinces is currently under construction. At Thasy village, vehicles can turn left on to Road No 1D towards Xieng Khuang.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update December 8, 2018)

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