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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

TOP PLACES TO EAT VEGAN IN VIENTIANE, LAOS

Updated: Apr 1, 2023


For the second leg of our Laos adventure, we caught the new high-speed Lao-China Railway from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, which it cut the travel time down to just a couple of hours! Mike had been to Vientiane before and couldn't believe how much the city has changed in just a few years. The capital of Laos is becoming so much more developed, we were surprised to even come across a Hilton Hotel and a Hard Rock Cafe being built in the city!


Though Vientiane is becoming newer by the day, there is still so much history in in this bustling city. We were never short of things to do in Vientiane, from visiting Buddha Park to the Patuxai Monument, and shopping in the mall where independent market stalls meet Western brands. Laos was one of the friendliest countries we visited, and Vientiane was no exception to this: walking past a high school that was finishing for the day we were surrounded by friendly and welcoming teenagers just wanting to chat to us in English.


Eating Vegan in Vientiane

"When I arrived in Laos and found young Americans living there, out of free choice, I was surprised. After only a week, I began to have a sense of the appeal of the country and its people" – Noam Chomsky

As the capital of Laos, Vientiane is popular with tourists as well as business travellers. The city moves at a much faster pace than the rest of Laos, but it is still very relaxed compared to London, for example! All of this means a gradually increasing number of places where plant-based food is central to the menu. When visiting Vientiane, don't expect to find vegan food everywhere - it is much rarer than in many of the other Southeast Asian capital cities - but it can be found here and there, nonetheless. In this list we share our favourite places to get plant-based food in Vientiane: though you'll find little bits in other places, in these three eateries there's no doubt that tasty vegan dishes will be on the menu!



1st: Reunion Cafe

XJ93+X54, Vientiane, Laos

There is so much we could say about Reunion Cafe. It genuinely blew our minds, and was one of the best vegan restaurants we ate at during three months in Southeast Asia. Within this unassuming little cafe in a small street in Vientiane is the biggest menu, packed with some of the most convincing imitation meat we have ever tasted. It is so good that there are signs all over the restaurant promising that the dishes are made of fake meat, and are 100% vegan.


The portion sizes at Reunion Cafe were much bigger than we expected: so we'd recommend getting a couple of dishes to share between two people. That way you get to try two things! For the incredible price of ₭25,000 (approx. £1.24, €1.39 or $1.48) Mike got a huge plate full of fried rice with crispy (mock) chicken. The rice was so well seasoned and moreish, and such incredible value for money! The mock chicken was what took this dish from something special to something amazing: completely homemade to their own recipe, the mock meat had a kind of hollow but snappy crunch akin to the taste of well fried chicken. Needless to say, we were impressed from the first forkful of rice!


I went for something a little more unusual (for me), choosing the crispy (mock) pork with teriyaki sauce. This was a little more expensive than Mike's fried rice, at ₭50,000 (approx. £2.48, €2.78 or $2.96) but wow: for this quantity of homemade mock meat, this is still an amazing price. I still don't understand how they made such an incredible imitation. Each layer had a different texture, just like fried pork would: a hard crunch on the outside gave way to tender, more soft layers. The mock meat and its sauce were delicious: rich and tasty (and really filling!) Honestly, if I hadn't known that the place was 100% vegan I would never have believed that these mock meats weren't the real thing.


The staff were really kind and friendly - it was very quiet when we visited, but we felt very welcome and happy there. We loved that under the glass of our tabletop was loads of banknotes, from countries across the globe, showing the appreciation of this small cafe's worldwide patrons. The restaurant owner even came out to talk to us; she explained that the mock meat recipes were something that she had been making for many years, and had cultivated over time. We really recommend paying Reunion Cafe a visit: you won't get anything of this quality, for this good a price anywhere else.



2nd: Coco&Co

Rue Setthathilath, Vientiane, Laos

We first came across Coco&Co for breakfast, early on in our time in Vientiane. After our first meal at this cafe we were hooked, and made sure to come back several times before we left the city (shout out to their delicious pesto pasta which filled us up before another long journey)!


The first thing you'll notice about Coco&Co is the atmosphere. This place is super popular and was almost full every time we visited. But despite this, it never seems hectic or crowded. The cafe has a really chill atmosphere, and it feels good for the soul to just sit in there for a while, and take your time deciding which of the tempting dishes from the menu (or the fresh bakes counter) you are going to order. The staff are really lovely too, and helped us out a few times with directions - including showing me where to find a postbox, to help us get our postcards safely home!


This is definitely not the cheapest place to eat, but the quality and freshness of the ingredients - as well as the presentation of the dishes - makes it so, so worth the money! Mike's top choice for breakfast was the granola with fresh fruits and almond milk, which came in at ₭55,000 (approx. £2.72, €3.05 or $3.26). It was the exact light but energising breakfast he needed before a heavy (and sticky) day of walking around Vientiane on a hot day. It felt good to eat, whilst tasting amazing too: the fruits were all clearly fresh, and had been presented with real artistry. Speaking of artistry, I went with a more indulgent choice: decorated like a face, my banana oat pancakes (₭48,000 - approx. £2.38, €2.767 or $2.85) were almost too cute to eat! This made for a heavy but satisfying breakfast: I could taste those bananas and oats, along with the sweetness of the pouring syrup. I was really impressed, too, by the volume of fruit presented on the side: you really can't beat fresh fruit in a sumptuous breakfast!



3rd: The Greenhouse

17, Unit 02, Francois Ngin Rd, Vientiane, Laos

We visited The Greenhouse for lunch, really excited by the excellent vegan options that we'd heard were on the menu. It was a little walk for us, but it was really worth it to visit their beautiful, art-and-plant-filled cafe, and to get some fresh and healthy lunch food.


We were a little disappointed that some of the dishes we'd been most excited to try (we're looking at you, vegan tacos!) were unavailable at the time we visited: but hey, the country had only just re-opened after the pandemic! There were shortages of everything, everywhere - we were more than happy to adapt our plans! (If you've tried some of the vegan menu items, please let us know how they were in the comments below!) So ultimately we both tried the cafe's salad bowls: they are their signature dish, after all! These cost us ₭60,000 each (approx. £2.97, €3.33 or $3.56): pretty expensive for Laos, but still excellent value for all those fresh and tasty veggies, and homemade mock meats.


The Greenhouse have salads on the menu, or you can create your own. We chose to do the latter, and the lovely staff behind the counter gave us lots of help and advice as we went! We were really pleased that we had ended up choosing the salads, because the range of plant-based salad options was huge (including things like vegan cheese and vegan sausage!) We felt really full, but also really healthy after eating our salad bowls: ultimately they turned out to be the best, nutritious lunch for a super hot day of sightseeing in Vientiane.


Where is your favourite place to get plant-based food in Vientiane? Are there any new places or old favourites that we've missed? Leave us a comment to let us know (and others who might be visiting too!)


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The centre of Vienna with tall, historic buildings all around
Our trip to Buddha Park was a big highlight of our time in Vientiane!

Where to stay?

As you might expect in a capital city, there's a lot of places to stay. If you're on a budget but still want somewhere clean, comfortable, with plenty of amenities on hand, try Sailomyen Cafe and Hostel, which consistently attracts positive reviews from guests.


For something a little different, Vongkham Eco Village offer a peaceful retreat from the world, while still being close to a frequent bus route! They have lots of free roaming animals and plenty of fruits and vegetables growing there too!


Tours & Experiences

If, like us, your visit to Vientiane is quite a short one, you'll want to make sure that you get to see all the sights efficiently! This full day, private tour of Vientiane includes the Patuxai Monument, Pha That Luang, Wat Si Saket, Wat Ho Phra Keo, Vat that Khao, and our favourite: Buddha Park! The trip includes a knowledgeable and professional guide, as well as air conditioned transport to keep you comfortable between sights!


If that's not quite for you, or if you want to explore Laos a bit more widely, why not try one of the top-rated Viator tours below?


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