Vientiane, Laos

When my boss told me I would be travelling to Vientiane last week, my heart immediately jumped out of my chest. A week’s notice? Would I have time to research gluten free foods and places to eat? Did I have a frozen loaf of gluten free bread in the freezer? How much is the luggage allowance?

Fresh rice spring rolls
Fresh rice spring rolls

Knowing that I would be having breakfast at the hotel every morning, I emailed the staff at Salana Boutique Hotel to inform them. They reassured me that they could provide for my gluten free and vegetarian diet.  I think this is the way to go when travelling. On the first evening, I ordered room service and they confirmed my dietary needs on the phone.

Monks from the temple nearby

In the morning they provided a breakfast buffet. I had yogurt with honey and muesli that I brought with me, plus some fresh fruit and cheese. They also provided fresh omelettes, but being a veg, I didn’t order one. They did have some breakfast meats for you meat-eaters out there, but the bacon was sitting on slices of bread!

I stuck with the same rules that I use in Bangkok: anything with a sauce, I asked for no soy sauce (bow oww see ewww – fish sauce ok). When in restaurants, I asked to speak to an English speaking server/manager.

On my first night, I walked through the streets to see how the locals eat – this informs me about ingredients as you usually see them displayed on the roadside.

Bleeuurrrrggghh - no thanks!
Bleeuurrrrggghh – no thanks!

I was told about Makphat by colleagues in Vientiane, and lucky for me, it was just around the corner from my hotel!

This is a unique restaurant and shop, as it takes kids off the street and teaches them how to cook. The ‘teachers’ educate the students on running a restaurant, serving, etc. as a solution to youth poverty.

Dining room
Dining room

When my friends and first arrived, we had a lovely ‘teacher’ server and he spoke very good English. I explained that I could not have bread, or breadcrumbs, wheat flour or soy sauce. He very patiently explained several dishes to me. In the end I opted for the Curried Mushroom & Coconut with rice noodles and Chicken Curry with Pumpkin and Mushrooms (without chicken). The curry came with some rice too. I would recommend ordering half portions as these alone were huge!!

I wasn’t expecting the egg in the soup, but it worked

Here is the orange and mango freeze and the hibiscus and lime freeze (both alcohol free).

Fruity and delicious!
Fruity and delicious!

Published by Marley

International Educator & Travel Enthusiast

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