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“Avoid! Food poisoning alert!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Lao Lao Garden!

Lao Lao Garden!
Phousi Road Ban Aphay, Luang Prabang, Laos
020-7777-4414
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Ranked #43 of 144 Restaurants in Luang Prabang
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Outdoor seating
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Seattle
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Avoid! Food poisoning alert!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

We picked Lao Lao Garden for our last dinner in Luang Prabang because they reportedly had excellent vegetarian food - including a tofu laap (the national dish). Their menu states that they take care to wash all of their veggies in safe water and use hygenic methods of cooking.
Indeed the garden setting is lovely, and the menu offered a wide vegetarian selection.
The service left much to be desired. I ordered white wine and was asked five times if I wanted "white" or "red". Each time I said "white" & pointed to various things on the table that were colored white (ashtray, napkins, napkin holder). They brought me red wine & insisted "this is what you ordered". Eventually they told me the white wine was "finished" & I should drink red instead (likely because they couldn't put the red wine back into the box it came out of). I shook my head "no" (and kept my "fire" at bay) and within five minutes I did receive white wine.
The meal tasted fine. However, about five hours later we were both overcome with a terrible bout of illness that lasted all night & into the morning. I'm sure it was food poisoning - likely caused by bad tofu or kitchen staff who did not wash their hands after using the toilet.
Beware bad hygiene or spoiled food at Lao Lao Garden! Avoid!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LLG2005, Manager at Lao Lao Garden!, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Sorry you were ill during your holiday.

However, your accusation that this restaurant is specifically to blame is probably unfounded and you should post the same warning about every place at which you ate, drank, visited and stayed during your travels, especially during the week prior to your illness. It could be as simple as buying a fruit shake or snack from a street vendor or drinking from an unclean glass in your hotel.

The following is from the CDC website…
Travelers' diarrhea (TD) is the most common illness affecting travelers. Each year between 20%-50% of international travelers, an estimated 10 million persons, develop diarrhea. The onset of TD usually occurs within the first week of travel but may occur at any time while traveling, and even after returning home. The most important determinant of risk is the traveler's destination. High-risk destinations are the developing countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
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Since 2005, Lao Lao Garden has remained the most popular venue in Luang Prabang, serving hundreds of meals daily, so the food is unquestionably purchased and served fresh. It was voted the #1 thing to do in Luang Prabang and the #2 budget restaurant in Asia by the readers of Lonely Planet Travel Guide. If people were getting sick, this would not be possible.

Lao Lao Garden is one of only a few remaining Lao-owned and operated businesses in town and the last Lao-style Restaurant, bar and beergarden in the UNESCO world heritage zone. Its theme is “Simply Lao,” because it is in Laos, not Europe. There is a Western consultant to teach basic expected standards and the Lao owner has a degree in tourism and studied restaurant management in Thailand.

Travelers who want to experience something really different, have an openness and sense of humor about dealing with other cultures and languages and want an authentic taste of local life will be quite happy at Lao Lao Garden. It is also one of only a few places in town that still has locals as customers.

Lastly, and sadly, readers of reviews on this website need to realize, especially in Luang Prabang, that it is being extremely manipulated by unscrupulous businesses. It is far from “unbiased” as it claims to be.
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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
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English first
Montpellier, France
Top Contributor
163 reviews 163 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
“Basic food in a garden”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

It is located in the south side, close to the Nam Khan river.
You eat in a garden. They serve basic asian food like fried rice and noddles. The waiter hardly spoke english. I ordered fried noddles and a mango juice. I was served fried rice and a beer...Anyway !

  • Visited November 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lucerne, Switzerland
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
“Really great place but a bid pricy”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Spent eventually 2 dinners there and liked the nice atmosphare and the fact that they had other local beer than just Beer Lao like anybody else. Food is good but the prices for the food are above rather high

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Good restaurant with friendly staff and decent food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

I was in Lao Lao Garden 2 weeks ago. I liked the food and the staff and I liked the atmosphere in the garden, it looked very good with the lights. I think however that the prices are a little bit high for what you get and there are certainly better restaurants in Luang Prabang for the same price. Nevertheless worth the visit.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stevenage, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Very over priced for what it is.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Disappointed with food. Very westernised. G further down the road and you will find better places. The BBQ is a novelty. Your paying for the location. Go to utopia much nicer place and about a 2 minute walk from here.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LLG2005, Manager at Lao Lao Garden!, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
This review is really an advertisement for another business and used to bring our rating down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since 2005, Lao Lao Garden has remained the most popular venue in Luang Prabang, serving hundreds of meals daily, so the food is unquestionably purchased and served fresh. It was voted the #1 thing to do in Luang Prabang and the #2 budget restaurant in Asia by the readers of Lonely Planet Travel Guide.

Lao Lao Garden is one of only a few remaining Lao-owned and operated businesses in town and the last Lao-style Restaurant, bar and beergarden in the UNESCO world heritage zone. Its theme is “Simply Lao,” because it is in Laos, not Europe. There is a Western consultant to teach basic expected standards and the Lao owner has a degree in tourism and studied restaurant management in Thailand.

Travelers who want to experience something really different, have an openness and sense of humor about dealing with other cultures and languages and want an authentic taste of local life will be quite happy at Lao Lao Garden. It is also one of only a few places in town that still has locals as customers.

Lastly, and sadly, readers of reviews on this website need to realize, especially in Luang Prabang, that it is being extremely manipulated by unscrupulous businesses. It is far from “unbiased” as it claims to be.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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