Noodle soup: A bowl for the road for all

Noodle soup is one of the flavourite dishes among people in Laos, especially those who living in a big city such as Vientiane.
Eating noodles for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late snack after a night out is common among the local people, particular residents of busy cities from the north to the south. This is the reason why so many people can be seen at noodle restaurants or stalls along the roadside in Luang Prang, the capital Vientiane, and cities in Savannakhet and Champassak provinces.

Fer or sticky rice noodle is a fine choice for customers who love beef soup.

Generally, most of these outlets serve only noodles, soup and different meats and fresh vegetable along with an array  of ingredients such as chilly sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sour fermented chilly and oily chilly for  customers who would like to add a spicy, sour, salty or sweet taste.
But the way the soup, meats, noodle and oily chilly paste are prepared is what makes each eatery different.
The aroma of the soup, the fresh taste of the meats, including beef, pork and chicken, the tender and sticky noodles and the heat of the oily chilly paste form the core of each noodle soup outlet.
There are thousands of noodle soup outlets in the big cities and some of them are crowded with customers waiting for space. This dining out article will help noodle hunters find the best noodle soup restaurants in central Vientiane.
Most of these noodle soup recipes traditionally come from China and Vietnam but the taste and preparation has changed due to local demands and the use of local ingredients.
There are three kinds of popular noodle soups in Lao cities, including sticky rice noodle Fer or Pho in the Vietnamese language, egg noodle or Mee or Mian in the Chinese language, and white noodle or Khaopiaksen or Banh Canh in Vietnamese.
Laos also has a noodle soup called Khaopoun (rice vermicelli) which is totally different from the other noodles, and is usually made by hand. It is usually served with boiled minced fish and fermented fish but it is not very different from other noodle soups sold along the streets in big cities.
According to a Vientiane Times survey, some of the most popular noodle soup outlets in Vientiane found are run by Lao-Vietnamese or Lao-Chinese people, with the cooking done by families. Some Lao people have also learnt to make noodles over the years.
Khao Piak Maekai, if you ask local people, particularly office workers, is well known because the outlet is always crowded with customers coming to eat white noodle soup with natural fighting chicken. The wonderful smell of the soup combines with the tasty meat and the very hot and spicy oily chilli paste.
The restaurant is located in front of the Vientiane Administration Office at Nongbon Road in Naxay village of Chanthabouly district, Vientiane.
If your choice is Fer or sticky rice noodle soup, the best restaurant is Pho Xan Her, also known well among Korean residents of Vientiane for its incredible fresh beef and braised beef with special herb soup. It is located in front of the Agriculture Bank on Phen Boun Road in Haixok village of Chanthabouly district, Vientiane.
For Mee or egg noodle soup, one should head for That Dam Noodle or Mee Tang Song, hidden in the area near That Dam stupa. It is popular among Chinese and Singapore nationals, who usually visit for breakfast and lunch. It is located at Chanthakounmane road, Xiengnheun village, Chanthabouly district, Vientiane.
There are still hundreds more noodle soup outlets in Vientiane waiting to be explored by noodle hunters.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath
(Latest Update October 6, 2018)

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