A long, lazy breakfast on a weekend is one of my favourite things in the world. In fact, its what signifies to my tired brain that it is, in fact, the weekend. I can take my time and have that extra cup of coffee (or two) and settle back and chat with my partner or friends without having to rush off in order to be somewhere. So where will you find me having breakfast most Saturdays and Sundays in Vientiane? At Kung’s Cafe Lao. A long-established cafe, tucked away at the end of a charming local laneway. Admittedly it is a challenge to find, but trust me, it is well worth the effort!
Kung’s Cafe Lao
Kung’s Cafe Lao is a cheap and cheerful outdoor eatery, a calm oasis tucked in amongst the busy Vientiane streets. Run by the lovely Maly, daughter of the original Kung, this little cafe has an almost cult status with backpackers and residents alike. And why is this little eatery so popular? Pancakes. But not your average pancake. Kung’s signature dish is a light and fluffy, sticky rice pancake with a half a mango tucked inside. Drizzle honey over the top and pair with a thick Lao coffee with condensed milk and you are all set.
This is what Kung’s is all about – mango sticky rice pancake with thick Lao coffee
If a sweet breakfast is not your thing, or you’re in need of a good hangover cure, Kung’s pho moo (pork soup) or the “secret menu” egg and meatballs will fit the bill.
Piak sen (pork noodle soup) and don’t skimp on the condiments…
From the laneway, Kung’s does not appear to be a restaurant, rather a heavily-shaded extension of the owners house. It is a cool escape from Vientiane’s heat with a distinctive decor of hanging gourds, old birds’ nests, baskets and shells dangling from the roof. Adding to the greenhouse feel are a myriad of pot plants and flowers lining the entrance way. On particularly hot days, the staff will turn on a fine spray of mist to keep everything cool.
Doesn’t look much like a cafe entrance – but trust me!
The cafe is set around a thoroughfare through the Phiawat village and regular customers know to keep the centre clear for the occasional motorbike travelling through.
Although, Kung’s Cafe Lao has a simple menu, it is great value for money with most mains costing around 15,000 – 20,000 kip (USD2-2.50). Kung’s menu includes Lao dishes such as khao phat (fried rice), stir-fries and Lao soups together with Western dishes such as fried or scrambled eggs, all served with a baguette. Fresh fruit and fruit shakes are also popular breakfast staples. Another signature item is Kung’s famous cafe maak pao (iced coconut coffee) which is strong, thick and not too sweet. The best coconut coffee in Vientiane in my opinion!
Cafe maak pao (iced coconut coffee) – seriously delicious!
Kung’s Cafe Lao is highly recommended for breakfast, lunch or a traditional Lao coffee. If you’re visiting Vientiane, this is a must-visit cafe.
Must-try: Mango sticky rice pancake; Lao coffee; iced coconut coffee
Open: 7am-3pm daily
Kung’s Cafe Lao is situated at the end of a laneway off Rue Simeuang, directly opposite the Ministry of Health. Kung’s is a 6 minute easy bicycle ride from the centre of town. Heading out of central Vientiane town, travel along Rue Setthathilath, past Joma Bakery and Kop Chai Deu Restuarant. Cross over Avenue Lang Xang and continue on past Wat Sisaket and Wat Phra Kaeow. Keep travelling along Rue Setthathilath until you reach Wat Simuang, which will be on your left. Turn right into Rue Simeuang and look out for the green and red Kung’s sign about half-way down Rue Simeuang on the right-hand side.