23 July 2012

Kong View Restaurant, Vientiane (Day1, Part2)


Our first night here in Vientiane wasn't that well prepared like what we normally do.  We took a little risk not to book any hotel room for that night so we drove around the city searching for rooms.  However, our preference is to get an at least 3.5 star accommodation with a must have Mekong riverview.  Since it wasn't a high season or weekend, so they're still plenty hotels available.  Then we found one hotel that tick our list, Inner City Hotel.  The hotel's location facing the Mekong river and you can see Thailand on the other side of the river bank.  Also busy with restaurants and night market near by.  Pricing-wise, pretty reasonable I'd say.

The hotel is quite boutique, with elegant Laos's touch and feeling a little bit like a gallery.  They have a really attentive and friendly service.  We are all aware that it's not like a five star, luxury hotel sort of thing so we don't expect anything too special from the staffs.  It is rather more like where you will find the real and raw local charms and Lao artistic side of the accommodation.  However, overall we were very happy with the stay.  Sufficient facilities, cleanliness and nice breakfast are among the number of factors that make us wanna re-visit next time when we are in Vientiane.  But the noise from the street might be quite disturbing too if you choose to stay on the second floor.  So avoid that !!!

Inter City Boutique Hotel, Vientiane
24-25 Fa Ngum Rd, Ban Wat Chan
Chanthabuly district, Vientiane, Lao P.D.R
Tel: +856 21 263788, 242842-4

Another great reason to stay in this hotel is location location!!!!  This is Vientiane at its best.  At night time, in Vientiane they have this night market along the Mekong river, not so big though comparing to its neighbor Thailand but more than enough to get souvenirs/gifts with Lao like t-shirts, keyrings, or other cheap cheap sandals or cloths for yourself !!!  Or at least, perfect place to cruise along after dinner.  Burn some calories.

Once we arrive to a new country, of course what we need is food, a local food.  That's the reason why for dinner tonight my friend brought us to try Lao local delicacies at one of the most beloved Laos dinning hot spot, Kong View Restaurant.  When night fall, this riverview restaurant is packed and busy with locals and tourists who wanna enjoy the best view and food Vientiane has to offer.  However, not only dishing up traditional and modern Lao cuisine, they also serve Thai and Chinese dishes that been adjusted to suit the local tastebud as well.  The restaurant is along the Mekong River with live band performing English and Thai hot and mostly calming jazz hits at night.  We went there for dinner, it's pretty dark, so we couldn't see much of the beauty of river-view, however they said that the view was generally more prettier in the day time. but hey... you can still soak up the atmosphere and see the glittering light from Thailand too.

Raw Prawns in Fish Sauce LAK/₭ 45,000 (about $5.60)
Yes!!!  It is a raw prawn, no cooking with heat at all on this dish whatsoever.  The raw prawns served with fresh cutting vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, and cabbage with heaps of basil, garlic and chilli also loaded with lime juice and fish sauce to cut out the fishy smell from the fresh prawns.  Although it's 100% raw but surprisingly no major smell of fishiness from it (I can't say that the fishiness is totally gone though).  My friend told me that this dish is the traditional Lao dish and a must try dish.  You have to give it a shot.

Steamed Fish with Lemon and Herbs ₭70,000 (about $8.75)

Bean Curd, Seaweed and Minced Pork in Clear Soup ₭35,000 (about $4.40)

Deep Fried Frog with Garlic and Peppercorn ₭60,000 (about $7.50)
Have anyone ever eaten frog before?  As an Indonesian myself, deep fried frog with garlic will do me anytime.  I personally quite like frog meat, texture is chicken-like and although not much meat you can get out of a single frog, but it's the art of it.  In my hometown, Surabaya Indonesia, there is one cooking method for frog with worchestire sauce-based and stir-fried if off until its cook and smell divine.  Tasted absolutely wonderful.  So, when I saw frog on the menu and it deep-fried with garlic, hmmm...  I got to try this!!  It turned out to be what I wasn't hoping for, this frog was a little bit overcooked cos the meat was chewy and a little too tough.  But its pretty well seasoned though.

Left to Right: Stir Fried Minced Pork with Spicy Lard Herbs ₭25,000 (about $3.10)
Lao-Style Sour and Spicy Cucumber Salad with Buffalo Crackling Skin ₭16,000 (about $2.00)
and Grilled Pork Spareribs ₭38,000 (about $4.75)

Sweet Corn Cream, Chinese Bread and Ice Cream ₭28,000 (about $3.50)
Apparently, this is another national Lao dessert dish, combination of ice cream with sweet corn and Chinese bread or Cakwe.  Very unusual combination but taste fantastic.  Regardless of its clumsy appearance, I don't mind to have this again for next time.

Beer Lao ₭16,000 (about $2) 640 ml
What else you need to complete your dinner feast on the riverside restaurant, if not sipping this cold Beer Lao, the taste is very light and clean. 

The Laos currency is called Kip, however Thai bath and US dollar is widely accepted there.  The comparison with Thai Bath is hardly fluctuate, is has been staying in awhile where 1 bath is equal to250 kip.  However, the food and cost of living in Laos is relatively more expensive compared to their neighbour countries in South-East Asia like Thailand and Indonesia.  That's probably because most of the stuffs and local produces are exported from overseas like Thailand and Vietnam.  I found that sometimes it's really hard to find the truly Laos souvenirs, not much varieties to choose from even the local snacks was hardly found.  The country is still far from developing but that is the beauty and hidden gem of this country where you will see the nature that still unspoiled and the people who is namely one of the world friendliest people in the planet and beautiful cultures that all Laos preserve and proud of.  There are so many reason to fall in love to this country, warmness of the local is surely one of them for me.

183 Souphanouvong Road,
Hom 1 Ban Nongpanay Sikottabong District
Vientiane, Lao PDR

Ph: (856-21) 520522

Keep on reading for the next blog in Laos:

1 comment:

  1. That corn dessert looks really interesting. Sweetcorn ice cream is one of my favourite flavours so I think I'd order that! :)