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Restaurant's natural cuisine matches its beautiful setting

Visiting waterfalls is popular amongst locals and foreigners alike to relax in the natural atmosphere, especially during the rainy season when the water is flowing freely.

Of course, many like to picnic on weekends while visiting these natural sites with family and friends but there are some great local dining options serving traditional favourites with the menu matching the natural atmosphere.

Kaeng Normai (bamboo-shoot soup) and Ping Kai (grilled chicken) are long-established favourites among locals prepared as they picnic, while others check the menus of local restaurants.

Recently, Vientiane Times visited Tard Yeuang, a popular waterfall in Champassak province, and as we were from out of town we hadn't prepared a picnic hamper. However, there was a great restaurant experience awaiting us ready to serve the best traditional local food.

Manager of the Tard Yeuang restaurant, Ms Southida Ounaphom, said kaeng normai was the most ordered dish by Lao visitors because the rainy season not only made the waterfall flow, it also helped the bamboo grow and provide a plentiful supply of the evergreen perennial for lunch and dinner every day.

“If we're talking about food, ping kai and kaeng normai are almost the same dish for Lao people, because whenever you eat kaeng normai it should go with ping kai so our restaurant always has these two favourites ready for visitors to the Tard Yeuang waterfall,” she said.

The restaurant is one of the most popular dining venues in the area providing a range of traditional seasonal cuisine but most people order bamboo soup, grilled chicken or fish dishes, with purple sticky rice and egg matched with the chef's special sauce also proving popular.

Ms Southida said most visitors are local people or from neighbouring countries while the number of westerners is fewer than last year.

“This year, there have been fewer visitors than last year but our restaurant is still providing the best natural dishes. We are also developing this place, building new stalls along the path down to the waterfall viewpoint to sell fruit, vegetables and traditional sweets so that visitors can sample a variety of local foods,” she said.

The restaurant is located on a hill above the falls under big shady trees where visitors can soak up the green natural environs and watch the water flowing on its ways to the falls. There are also several huts available for visitors to picnic or dine at the restaurant but the rainy season's voluminous torrents prevent visitors occupying this area.

Ms Southida said many people like to play in the water upstream of the falls but she urged caution because of the strong current at this time of the year.

Tard Yeuang waterfall is located in Pakxong district about 40km from central Pakxe district on Road No. 16E. A right turn and a further drive of about 800 metres will bring you to the entrance to the waterfall and the restaurant.

The entrance fees range from 10,000-20,000 kip and you'll see a souvenir and coffee shop on the right with the restaurant to the left under a big shady tree. Amid the lush wet atmosphere, mosquito repellent is a good idea.


By Souknilundon Southivongnorath
(Latest Update September 23, 2017)

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