Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

THE Best Noodles in Vientiane

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…

"Namphou Coffee"

“Namphou Coffee”

…to find the deliciousness inside that is this…

"Cow Piek" pork noodle soup

“Cow piek moo” – pork noodle soup

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 busy-ness of making great noodle soup.

The busy-ness of making great noodle soup.

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.

Not just any hole-in-the-wall noodle shop.

Not just any hole-in-the-wall noodle shop. It’s THE best noodle shop in Vientiane!

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!

Lao Plaza Hotel is the modern white building in the background.

Lao Plaza Hotel is the modern white building on the right. The yummy noodles are behind the blue awning on the left!

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9 comments on “THE Best Noodles in Vientiane

  1. Nate
    February 1, 2013


    Those do look pretty delicious. We might have to have a noodle shop cook-off between China and Vientiane. Hope everyone is well.


    • Wanderlustress
      February 3, 2013

      What I wouldn’t do for some good Chinese noodles and dumplings. You are a lucky man πŸ˜‰

  2. Mz Zoomer
    January 31, 2013

    Hi Wanderlustress. I really enjoy your blog and have followed it for quite some time. I enjoy it so much that I have nominated you for a Liebster award. Totally up to you if you want to play. For more info feel free to click on here: http://mzzoomer.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/liebster-means-dearest-i-have-been-nominated/ You can use the same questions that were asked of me if you like πŸ™‚ Thanks and congrats. Look forward to more blog posts. Pam aka MzZoomer

  3. Dani
    January 30, 2013

    Just an fyi, feel free to post about as many bowls of noodles on this blog as you want to. It’s wonderful therapy for those of us still suffering noodle-withdrawal. I swear this is the last place we go without an indigenous bowl of noodles. Sounds like you guys have had a jam-packed few weeks! And the photos of the noodles are drool-worthy. Keep them coming!

    • Wanderlustress
      January 30, 2013

      So I take it you’ll be spending your R&R at a noodle mecca somewhere in the region? The crispy pork pictured here is much more photogenic than the duck or chicken. That crispy rind is yummy and pretty. I found it tricky with my point and shoot to get close enough to soups without fogging up the lens!

  4. andthreetogo
    January 30, 2013

    My husband, toddler daughter, and I are about to head out on a round the world trip and definitely plan on heading to Laos for a bit! Thank you for your posts! I can’t wait to try those noodles…yummy!

    • Wanderlustress
      January 30, 2013

      You should definitely come to Laos and make sure you get to Luang Prabang. Rent bikes there to get around. The bike rental in front of the elementary school has bikes with a child seat on the back πŸ˜‰

  5. lidipiri
    January 30, 2013

    I must admit that I approach your blogs with mixed emotions. One is the fact that you are where I would like to be which generates a pinch in the heart knowing I am not and the other is that you bring the country closer to me and therefore I live a bit vicariously through you.
    Just a thank you to you because the last feeling prevails and I’m grateful. πŸ™‚

  6. Mz Zoomer
    January 30, 2013

    Those noodles look delicious. I loved Laos and Vientiane when I visited years ago. Thanks for taking me back to those times. Just wonderful.

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