Vegan in Vientiane, Laos
If you should find yourself visiting the capital city of Laos, my guess is that it isn’t through a choice of your own. It isn’t really on the tourist trail, it’s more like a springboard place for other destinations. More commonly, if you’re visiting from Chiang Mai you’re probably doing a visa run. Even though it’s still almost as sleepy as when I first visited around fifteen years ago, there have been a few interesting additions in the last couple of years. So try to make the most out of your trip here as there are a few places to be enjoyed. It’s certainly not as hard as it used to be traveling as a vegan in Vientiane.
This bar opened up a few months ago has been the best thing that has ever happened to Vientiane in my opinion. It’s a restaurant, bar and live music venue. They have a happy hour between 5 and 7 and you can get a really nice, strong cocktail for only 15-20,000 kip. The cocktails are their own mixes and are Mekong themed. At night, they have local live bands playing. The best bit part of course though is the food. Even though this venue is not vegetarian or vegan, they are making a big effort with the vegan options. For a start, there is the veggie burger. I’m not sure if it actually requires any customising, but I always say I would like it vegan just to be sure. The staff are attentive and all speak English well. The burger is vegetable based rather than some fake meat thing. It comes in a tasty bun with a good serving of delicious chili fries which really made this meal for me. Another main dish that they have is a vegan tofu spaggy bowl. This is absolutely fantastic and probably the tastiest dish I’ve ever eaten in Laos. As well as these they have sides such as corn fritters and other things. I came here almost every night. The Wi-Fi works well and it’s a great place to sit for a few hours to listen to music, eat good food and make new friends.
This is a very modest and basic local ‘jey’ style place. It doesn’t look like much but the food is suprisingly good. Dishes are cooked to order and they have a menu in English so you can just point to what you want – no English spoken. I ordered somtam which I didn’t know how to order spicy but was pleased that it was served with quite a bit of chili. So many places just assume a foreigner won’t want spicy and don’t put any in. The dish was also huge and only 10,000 kip! I was so pleased with it that I ordered another dish which was a kind of banh mi sandwich. I wasn’t quite as keen on it as it had fake meat in it which isn’t my thing and isn’t clear from the picture. However, it tasted much better than I was expecting and the ‘meat’ did not seem to have been cooked in any oil. It also comes with chili sauce on the side to dip it in.
There are a few local style ‘jey’ places and this one seems to be the best. It’s a fairly large place that is open until 8PM. I believe there is a lunch buffet but we went in the evening when it is an a la carte menu. There is a lot to choose from and although they use a fair bit of fake meat you could avoid it if it’s not your thing. The dishes are good quality but are cooked in a lot of oil in typical Asian jey food style. We didn’t see any dishes that weren’t vegan. S
taff don’t speak much English, nor did they even seem to understand Thai. However the menu is in English and we had no problem ordering.
This place looked promising since it has Vegan Café on its board outside and has also sprung up since I was here last time. The previous reviews on HappyCow though did not paint a good picture. Despite this, it is the only western style all vegetarian cafe in the city so I wanted to try it. I first tried to order the soup which is vegan, but the bread it’s served with isn’t, it contains egg. The lady was not very helpful with offering an alternative to the bread but rather blankly told me that none of the dishes with bread are vegan, which cancels out half the menu. I could have ordered an Asian dish but the point of going there was to get a western dish. Then at the end of the menu I saw
smoothie bowls. I ordered one and to my surprise it was a huge bowl piled up high and overflowing with chopped fruit, nuts and seeds. I also had a coffee with soya milk and a raw vegan slice for dessert which was great although a small slice. So I would recommend going for the smoothie bowl if nothing else, it really surpassed my expectations.
This is a very basic local place that’s small and cosy. Has Wi-Fi. They have a large range of Thai/Laotian food but also a few western style salads. The food is incredibly cheap as well as tasty. They also have cold pressed juices that they wil
l make fresh in front of you. I believe it’s fully vegan.
I don’t normally choose to eat Japanese food but noticed this place appeared on HappyCow so thought I’d try it out for something different. They have a large section of vegetarian dishes in the menu although it doesn’t specify which are vegan. However, neither eggs nor dairy feature in any of the dishes that I could see and when I checked with the waiter they confirmed the dishes I ordered were vegan. They speak English and seem to understand vegan. I tried a noodle dish which came with a thick and tasty sauce as well as gyoza. Both were great. They also have an all day special offer on wine, which was also very good. Have heard they also have a vegan buffet on certain days of the week.
This place offers pizzas as well as hummus and falafel dishes. They even have an interesting vegan falafel and hummus pizza which is something I have never seen before. I didn’t try it but I did enjoy the little pieces of potato that came up on the one that I did try. They don’t have vegan cheese though. The venue is a bit basic but has a fun atmosphere with music and they sell alcohol including beer and wine.
I came to this Mediterranean restaurant for something different. However, I found the pitta, falafel and hummus dish rather uninspiring compared to the ones I’ve got in other places. I wouldn’t recommend you come here unless you have a particular craving for this type of cuisine. It was also quite over-priced. The atmosphere and décor was pleasant though as it felt almost European.
This is a modern, clean, western-style café that is popular with nomads. I didn’t actually eat a proper meal here but the coffee with soy milk was good, and there aren’t many places around here that offer soy milk. I was also pleased to see dairy-free sorbet and when I checked if it was vegan he actually pulled out what seemed to be an allergens folder! Something that is common in the west but a first time for me to see in this part of the world. He confirmed there is no egg so the sorbet so it is in fact vegan. Great place to come if you have work to be done and fancy a refreshment. They have other vegan dishes including a veggie hummus wrap and, unknown to me at the time of visiting, they even have a vegan menu if you ask for it, which gives you suggestions on meals you can make by swapping things. Anything you’re not sure about, just ask them to check their folder!
This modest little cafe is not fully veggie or vegan but actually has a menu with the advertising ‘are you vegan?’ There are two baguette choices and you could have any of the shakes. The baguette I tried came with avocado, other veggies and a delicious dressing and made a perfect brunch before getting my flight back to Chiang Mai.
Not to be confused with their nearby café which isn’t vegan-friendly, Benoni has a guest house and coffee shop just a few doors down from House of Fruit Shakes. I have to mention this place as they offer a vegan coconut ice-cream which is delicious. It’s advertised as vegan on the board in English which is unusual around here especially in a non-veg café.
We hope you’ll find these listings useful if you are visiting Vientiane as a vegan! There are more places that I didn’t get to visit, find them on HappyCow!
Have questions about getting your visa for Thailand in Vientiane? Please message me and I’ll try to help.