Not much to do in Pakse itself as a landing pad for going north/south. So we ate, and got a massage, and ate and ate. And ate.
Any traveler familiar enough with backpacker-style eateries will know internet ratings of local food and service tends to be of fragile calibration, but the rather lauded Delta Coffee house kind of disappointed in both its food and service. Even the veggie monster in me had to agree the xiao bai cai veggies was little more than fried oil and pepper. It could be because we were there at sluggish lunch-time. Could be also us fellow Asians are a little less exciting to attend to. But at least your dollar goes to a sustainable cause.
Nearby on the same road is Nazim, where our second meal was had. When we saw the food arrive, it was like our hearts and bellies simultaneously made a synchronised roil of pure salivating delight. The naans and paneers looked soo good, and tasted as good, if not better, than restaurants back home. (Our roti chennai was a little bit off).Total damage: hardly any at just 5,000-10,000 kip per dish (~1USD).
Some of the sauces in laos food tasted very foreign— a silly statement if any, but try any fish dish to understand this; there’s plenty along the seafood restaurants along the rivercurve a 10-min walk away. This made the familiarity of indian spices all the more welcome.
Later (much later, when through a series of unfortunate events we had to spend a night at the restaurant’s adjoining Royal Pakse Hotel – which really was not too shabby at all for 9USD/night), hc found out the owner was originally from Malaysia as well (i wished he’d asked how he’d wound up in laos). I think that explains the clever extra details to cleanliness and hotel-ability in its rooms. Indian food is usually flavourful but it was definitely worked to whet the appetite. Interestingly, Nazim was set up after the brother had left Jasmin restaurant, which was just diagonally across the street (where a convenience store sells useful stuff like water, shampoo and SIM cards).
the main road along Rte 13
Along Rte 13, the main thoroughfare, still pretty quiet in the day,