Fresh Finds at Luang Prabang’s Morning Market

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I usually love shopping at markets and supermarkets overseas. The variety and price of food and other daily provisions can provide a surprising amount of insight into local culture, and I love being challenged to cook up new dishes using ingredients I can’t even identify.

The Luang Prabang morning market, however, is a whole new level of exotic. It started off innocently enough, with some dried foods. I bought some grilled bananas to munch on before pushing my way into the crowded single aisle.

Dried goods at the Luang Prabang morning market

Things immediately got interesting. Fresh fish? How about fresh frogs and larvae? These are rich in protein. “Lao people will eat anything with legs, except tables and chairs,” chuckles my guide. I even spotted some grocers selling dead snakes which they’d caught, so add “without legs” to the list.

Mushrooms, frogs, honey, and larvae. At the Luang Prabang morning market.

I love this photo. I have titled it “The Butcher Queen”. She’s sitting up high, on the counter, finest cuts of fresh pork laid out, choppers at the ready. She’s even got cubes of pig’s blood. The most fascinating aspect of this whole scene was that there was no odor at all.

The Butcher Queen of the Luang Prabang morning market

Subsistence agriculture dominates the Lao economy. Most of the food sold in the market is raised or grown in the sellers’ own homes, or caught in small amounts. Those with the larger stalls are usually the midland or highland peoples like the Hmong with sufficient land to grow vegetables and fruit.

Hmong lady with her vegetables

Even in the narrow lane, one has to make way for the delivery vans.

Tuk-tuk, Luang Prabang, Laos

Finally, I got to the other end. After waking up at 4.30am to catch the famed morning alms giving rounds of the Buddhist monks, this was really what I was looking forward to: getting a taste of local breakfast. Sticky rice and banana cakes, grilled buffalo sausages, and crisp refreshing salads.

Delicious local food, Luang Prabang, Laos

They should really hold some sort of TV show where top chefs compete to present a gourmet meal using ingredients from this market. Not that Lao food isn’t already delicious. I didn’t try any bugs or grilled intestines, though…next time. Next time.

The Luang Prabang morning market opens from 05:30 to 11:00 daily.

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When to Go

October to March. April-July are the hottest months![/vc_column_text][vc_button button_color=”color-zsdf” size=”btn-sm” radius=”btn-circle” link=”||target:%20_blank|rel:nofollow”]Check Flight Prices[/vc_button][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

How to Get There

Luang Prabang is a small city and you’re likely to be staying somewhere “downtown”, so just stroll over once you’ve observed local monks at the morning alms giving ceremony (Tak Bat).

There are several exquisite boutique hotels and guesthouses in the UNESCO World Heritage protected area at very affordable prices. Go check them out.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]