Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
The charm (and occasional frustration) of living in Vientiane is that the good stuff doesn’t necessarily always jump out at you. They can only become known with time and trial, or through those in-the-know once you finally meet them, or stumbled upon in the spirit of “let’s go see what’s back there even if it doesn’t look like much at all,” which is what we should do more often around here because we would have never gone into a place like this…
…to find the deliciousness inside that is this…
And that would have been a shame to miss. Luckily, the popularity of this place spreads by word of mouth and is often frequented by my husband’s colleagues which is how we came to know it. It’s become our favorite lunch date, and we are totally in love (with the restaurant and with each other of course!).
The name “Nampou Coffee” is a relic of the previous shop and belies the deliciousness inside just as much as the overly typical entrance does. Nothing that you can see from the outside does justice for the restaurant in a way that I would like to do for it which is to scream, “You’ve GOT to come in and try these amazing noodles!!!”
The broth is pork-based, rich but not oily. You can choose “cow piek” a thick rice noodle, or “pho” thin rice noodles, or “mee” yellow egg noodles, along with pork, duck, or chicken. The best part and the thing that makes it so delectable is the healthy topping of fried shallots which adds a sweet roasted flavor that is so aromatic and addictive that I wish the after taste would stay on my palate for the rest of the day. The soup is served with iced chrysanthemum tea along with an array of chillies and sauces that I never use because the broth is really that good just the way it is.
How can you find this noodle shop you ask? It’s across the street and kitty-corner from the Lao Plaza Hotel on Pangkahm Street. It looks really dark at first but once your eyes adjust you’ll see everyone slurping up their steaming bowls and the friendly staff will happily take your order. Enjoy!