LUANG PRABANG, LAOS: My Guide to Dining at the Night Market

January 18, 2020

My Guide to Dining at the Night Market

The first time we attempted to dine at the night market we found it difficult to find. We went through endless rows of stalls in makeshift tents selling goods like clothes, housewares and souvenirs before finding the night market food area. At some point, we got lost. So I felt there's a need to make this guide.

The night market stalls are in makeshift tents. They are not visible during the day. Tents are only set up late afternoon of every day to prepare for the night market. When we explored the Royal Palace the next day, we didn't realize that the road across it, Sisavangvong Road, was actually the location of the night market that we visited the night before. Not until we visited the night market again next day did we realize that the night market actually disappears during the day. The night market doesn't just close during the day. The tents actually disappear during the day.

The night market is along Sisavangvong Road, from Haw Pha Bang, across the Royal Palace, until Kitsalat Road. It's about half a kilometer of stalls set up in the late afternoon of every day.  So where can we find the night market street food?


The night market street food area is on the road perpendicular to Sisavangvong Road. It's actually more of an alley than a road. It's the road between Indigo House and the Tourist Information Center. You can actually use Indigo House as point of reference in google maps.

When you walk through that alley, this is what you will see:


There are waitresses in charge of each food stall. You tell them what your order is and then they will find you a seat. Due to the limitation on the number of seats available, seats are usually shared with other diners. Turnover of diners is fast so you don't wait long. We were there on a weekday and on a weekend and we were seated immediately.

For grilled food, you get a plate and get the food that you want and then they grill it again to heat it. The stall below is where we ordered our food.



The only rice available is sticky rice.
But it's the perfect rice to balance the spiciness of the dish

They ask how spicy you want the papaya salad to be.

The Lao sausage is so delicious that we returned to the night market on our last night to eat it again.
There's so much depth in the flavor of this sausage because of the variety of herbs and spices used.
I wasn't able to ask the locals what's in it but online research showed that it has
mint, basil, lemongrass, 
cilantro, galangal, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, lime leaf and chili. 

One serving of Lao sausage
They grill it again and then cut it.
The Lao sausage is so delicious because of the pork without extenders and the multitude of herbs mixed with it.

Grilled fish, chicken and Lao sausage

This is what we ordered on the first night.
This meal costs 136,000 kip (780 php or 15 usd)
It consists of:
3 orders of sticky rice
1 grilled fish
1 skewer of grilled chicken
1 Lao sausage
1 order of papaya salad
3 orders of Beer Lao

This is what we ordered on our second night.
The red dipping sauce is for the sausage.
The Lao sausage with dipping sauce is so spicy and so delicious!!!
This meal costs 67,000 kip (385 php or 8 usd)
It consists of:
2 orders sticky rice
2 orders Lao sausage 

(our 2nd serving of sausage is not in the photo)
1 order of papaya salad
1 Beer Lao


Of course we had to try the Beer Lao. We tried the Dark Lager, the Limited Edition IPA (India Pale Ale) and the White Lager. It's the first time I tried the IPA and among all three, I liked the IPA the most.

So what is IPA?

"India pale ale (IPA) is a beefed-up version of pale ale, made using more hops and with a higher alcohol content. Created in England, the name is a result of its popularity with British troops stationed in India in the 19th century, when the subcontinent was still a British colony. However, there is some dispute about exactly how and why it was invented.

The most popular theory is that IPA was created to survive the tough, months-long trip from Britain to India through tropical weather with no refrigeration. “They upped the hops and [alcohol by volume in pale ale], and the beer not only made the voyage, but the troops loved it,” says Julia Herz, the craft beer program director at the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado."(source:

Us enjoying our beer!


For dessert you can try the delicious coconut pancake. Many stores are selling these at the entrance of the night market street food area/road/alley. 

5,000 kip (28 php or .6 usd)
for 5 pieces of coconut pancake

Delicious coconut pancake

LUANG PRABANG, LAOS: Xieng Thong Phonsavanh Restaurant: Home of Authentic Lao Cuisine

January 17, 2020

Xieng Thong Phonsavanh Restaurant:
Home of Authentic Lao Cuisine 

If you wish to try Lao cuisine, I recommend dining at this restaurant. The food is delicious and the price is not expensive.

If your accommodations are at Mekong Riverview Hotel or somewhere in the vicinity of the Hotel Villa Deux Rivieres, where we stayed, the best time to try this restaurant is at dinnertime since it's an easy walk back to the hotel after dinner. We dined at this place after doing the Sasa sunset cruise along the Mekong River. 



(Minced fish cooked with herbs)
The "unofficial" national dish of Laos

Spicy minced fish cooked with herbs (larb)...
(50,000 kip or 290 php or 6 usd)
My tip: Be careful getting the meat submerged in sauce. It's VERY SPICY!!! be wrapped with lettuce, dill and mint.

Larb is a minced meat salad
that may be made of fish, chicken, pork, etc

This restaurant serves fish larb.

(Mekong weed)
Crunchy Mekong river weed
(20,000 kip or 115 php or 2.25 usd)
It is usually eaten with Jaew.
The river weed is dried green algae with sesame seeds and garlic, fried before serving.
Check out this post: How Kaipen is Made 

(Fish penny sauce)
Spicy fish penny sauce (jaew) or fish eggs sauce,
used as viand when paired with rice
or as dip when paired with Mekong weed.
(20,000 kip or 115 php or 2.25 usd)

Sticky rice
(5000 kip or 30 php or .60 usd)

Deep fried shrimp in garlic
(60,000 kip or 345 php or 7 usd)

MY TIP: The restaurant has 2 seating areas: one inside the main restaurant along the road, and the other across the main restaurant with view of the river. The view of the restaurant is the area where the Nam Khan river joins the Mekong river. It's nicer to seat in the area with river view.

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Meals on Manila to Bangkok Roundtrip Flights

January 13, 2020

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Meals on Manila to Bangkok Roundtrip Flights

Sharing with you photos of our meals for the Manila to Bangkok flights. Meals are included in the fare, aside from 25kg free baggage allowance. So I'm posting photos of the meals to help you decide if it's worth purchasing the Philippine airlines flight with meals included.


Chicken pasta with steamed vegetables
Bread and butter
Dried pineapple
Auro chocolate
Water, white wine

Beef with rice and steamed vegetables
Bread and butter
Dried pineapple
Auro chocolate
Water, red wine


Pork with rice and vegetables
Corn, peas and carrots
Bread and butter
Water, white wine

Ice cream for dessert

Included with the meals are unlimited drinks such as softdrinks, beer, red wine, white wine, juice, tea, coffee.

THAI SMILE: Meals on Bangkok to Luang Prabang Roundtrip Flights

Thai Smile plane at Luang Prabang airport

THAI SMILE: Meals on Bangkok to Luang Prabang Roundtrip Flights

Sharing with you photos of our meals for the Bangkok to Luang Prabang flights. Meals are included in the fare, aside from 30kg free baggage allowance. I love the meals on these flights. They are healthy, delicious and very filling.


Quinoa sticky rice with Savoury Grilled Chicken
Assorted Fruits


Salmon and Spinach Cheese
Whole Wheat Pizza Wrap

Spark Place Cubao Store Directory

January 10, 2020

Spark Place Cubao Store Directory

TOKYO: Where to Find the World of Miyazaki's Spirited Away at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum

January 8, 2020

TOKYO: Where to Find the World of Miyazaki's Spirited Away
at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum

There are several places claiming to be the setting of Hayao Miyazaki's famous film Spirited Away. One of them is Jiufen in Taipei. But an interview with Hayao Miyazaki in May 2001 by Animage, a Japanese anime and entertainment magazine, finally confirmed from his own words that the world he sought to recreate in Spirited Away was a world depicted at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum.

 The transcript of the interview is shown below:

Why did you set the story in the present time?

 M: It's a world like this Edo Tokyo Tatemonoen (Edo Tokyo Museum, Building Park*) rather than our modern world. I've always been interested in the pseudo-Western-style buildings** you can find here. I feel nostalgic here, especially when I stand here alone in the evening, near closing time, and the sun is setting--tears well up in my eyes. (laughs)

 *Edo Tokyo Tatemonoen: A park with Japanese houses and shops from the Meiji and Taisho era (about 120 to 70 years ago). Miyazaki-San loves the park and often visits there. The interview took place in the park.

 **Pseudo-Western style - A style of Japanese architecture in the early Meiji era. It's a mixture of traditional Japanese design and Western design.

 I think we have forgotten the life, the buildings, and the streets we used to have not so long ago. I feel that we weren't so weak...for example, a life in that house you see there (pointing at one of the buildings in the park) was a modest one. They ate a small amount of food, enough to fit on a small table in a tiny room. Everyone thinks our problems today are the big problems we have for the first time in the world. But I think we just aren't used to them, what with the recession and all. Well, it's enough since everyone is talking about these current problems. Rather, let's cheer up (laughs). I'm making a film with such a feeling.


Below is the Layout of the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum:

This is the layout of the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum.

You can find it in the link below.
The areas I encircled are the areas/buildings that inspired the buildings in Spirited Away.
Make sure to click the photo to get the full view.

To follow the story of Spirited Away, you only need to visit the East Zone and the Center Zone:

East Zone

E3. Bar Kagiya (information) (virtual tour)

Bar Kagiya is the inspiration for the restaurant in this scene:

This is Bar Kagiya at the Museum

E6. Stationery store (information) (virtual tour)

The stationery store is the inspiration for workplace of Kamaji, the boiler-man:

This is inside of the stationery store at the Museum

E4. Public Bathhouse (information) (virtual tour)

The public bathhouse is the inspiration for this scene:

The front of the Public Bathhouse in the Museum

Inside the Bathhouse

Inside the Bathhouse at the Museum

Center Zone

C3. House of Korekiyo Takahashi (information) (virtual tour)

The House of Korekiyo Takahashi is the inspiration for this scene:

The House of Korekiyo Takahashi at the Museum

Check out the windows similar to the one in the film.

Outdoor exhibit

City train model 7500

Inside the train