Go for the real local culinary experience

Hang out at Luang Namtha’s night market and enjoy local food and drinks

You cannot leave Luang Namtha without spending at least one evening at Luang Namtha’s night market. If you want to experience an authentic local night out, this is the place to be.

The night market of Luang Namtha opens every single day around five in the afternoon and usually stays open as long as there are customers. In the wet season they might close around 21.00 and in the dry season this means around 23.30, since nearly every bar and restaurant has to be closed by that time.

Nonetheless, the night market is the very spot to hang around at night if you want a real local experience! Late afternoon, the tribal sales women arrive at the market place and start to display their goods. You can find some souvenirs here – like traditional Lao skirts, other handicrafts or CD’s with popular Lao music – but the night market is mainly about food. And drinking.

Luang Namtha is known for it’s local specialities that you cannot find anywhere else in Asia. Village people collect vegetables, herbs and spices from the jungle and use these in their traditional dishes. At the covered section of the night market, you will find long tables with all these dishes displayed.

And of course you will find some crazy stuff here as well. What about deep fried grasshoppers, a salad of silkworms or little snails to go with your sticky rice? You can either take away the dishes you like in a plastic bag, or select the plates you want and find yourself a table at the centre of the market. Or, if you’re not craving exotic foods, just grab a Beer Lao and share it – local style – with the people sitting next to you.

If you want less adventurous food, there are enough options as well. Get yourself some Lao style spring rolls for an appetizer, a spicy noodle soup as main dish and some fried banana’s for dessert. And if you’re ready for the drinking, which is part of the social life at the night market, you can choose from a wide variety of Lao Lao, the locally brewed rice whisky.

When you don’t get too hammered on the Beer Lao’s and the Lao Lao’s, you will notice that the night market gets quit messy after a few hours. It is usual for local people to throw their food waste on the ground and to leave their empty beer bottles on the tables. Don’t feel uncomfortable and do as the locals: soon the stray dogs will eat the food from the floor and the food stall holders will take away the bottles.

So the next day, people can come and make everything dirty again!

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