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Shabu Shabu Restaurant. [Neighborhood Unavailable].

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5.0 Stars

My Thai tourist visa was expiring so I decided to spend the weekend in Louang Prabang, a UNESCO world heritage site in central Laos. A city flanked by two rivers, the Mekong and the Nam, filled with lovely silk weavers, temples, cafes, rice paddies and a legacy of foreign rulers. The architecture, food, and culture point to the city’s colonial roots and if you listen intently, you can hear the whisper of a Frenchman. I met a couple from a tour I did at an elephant rescue center and they took me under their wing for dinner. Unimpressed by the many touristy restaurants on the main drag, we took a turn down toward the Nam River, down Phousi Road and headed along a dark street. Laos can’t be bothered by Western inane modern day inventions such as street lamps. We were weary and hungry from bathing elephants all day, and almost threw in the towel at some boring looking restaurant when we heard the loud laughter that we detected to be drunken merriment. We followed our noses to the Shabu Shabu holy grail of Laos. Still have no idea of the name, but you will know it when you see it. We saw tons of locals sitting at beer garden style tables enjoying a mysterious liquid that they cooked at the table. Don’t even bother with the other dishes, as the Shabu is the main event. Seeing our ignorance our waitress took care of us. She poured broth from a teakettle into the metal hot plate while coals underneath the table heated the concoction. She added spring onion, cabbage, a raw egg, chilies, and oodles of glass noodles. Possibly my best meal in Asia. Others around us had meat and chicken in their soup, but we went veg. Once heated, you fish out the soup with a ladle and then can season it as you see fit. My preference is lime-juice, fresh garlic and a hint of spice; however, the spicy chilies that they gave us crept up on us at different points during our meal, causing our upper lips to burn. I likened it to applying Bengay to my face. You could tell when we felt the heat as we were stunned into silence and tears started to roll down our faces.

Before leaving I asked this group of 5 Laotian girls if I could take their picture. They were wasted and invited me out with them, but I declined, as I knew better than to break up ladies night Lao style. The best part was that dinner for three, plus drinks, was under $5.00 Congratulating ourselves on our thriftiness, we went home smelling of elephant and garlic, but couldn’t have been more satisfied! xox-Chloe

On Mon Aug 10, 2009 | Permalink

All-time
5.0 Stars
Nam Ming River, 13, Luang Phrabang, Laos

Description:

Dinner on the cheap over a hot plate

Tags: asia, cheap eats, drinks, food, laos, shabu shabu

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