1 of 28 . Explore the tastes of Lao in Luang Prabang

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Explore the tastes of Lao in Luang Prabang

Travel writer Shelley Seale explores the tastes of Laos as she eats her way through Luang Prabang. ..Readmore

2 of 28 . Baguettes have long been integrated into Laotian cuisine. Photo courtesy Romancing the Planet.

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Baguettes have long been integrated into Laotian cuisine. Photo courtesy Romancing the Planet.

À la française: As a former part of French Indochine, the strong influence of France shows itself in the coffee culture; the lovely fresh baguettes and other bread one can find at dozens of bakeries; and many incredible French restaurants. There is possibly nowhere else in the world where you eat fine French cuisine for such a low price. ..Readmore

3 of 28 . The food markets in Luang Prabang are bursting at the seams with fresh produce. Photo courtesy Iwan G.

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The food markets in Luang Prabang are bursting at the seams with fresh produce. Photo courtesy Iwan G.

The markets: Begin your food (and cultural) journey at the Morning Market, located all along the alleys between the main street of Sisavangvong and the Kong River. Here you will find an array of familiar items — fruits, vegetables, live chickens, and fresh fish from the river — alongside an assortment of such local fare as grub worms and other insects, water buffalo ears, freshly-gutted tadpoles, and honeycomb filled with live, wiggling larvae. The vendors chat with each other as tourists and locals alike peruse their stalls. ..Readmore

4 of 28 . Take your time perusing each stall at the Morning Market. Photo courtesy Lin P.

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Take your time perusing each stall at the Morning Market. Photo courtesy Lin P.

There is also a famous Night Market every evening along the main street, where you’ll find not only food (including many stalls offering prepared street eats), but also artisan crafts, fine antiques, clothing, toys, flowers, and music. ..Readmore

5 of 28 . Try your hand at making red curried chicken. Photo courtesy Wiki.

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Try your hand at making red curried chicken. Photo courtesy Wiki.

Luang Prabang is an exceptional place to take a cooking class. Often held as a half-day option, classes start with a visit to the market to select ingredients, before being led through instruction and preparation of a meal. Regional specialties are often on the menu, such as nam khao (rice crêpes), mok pak (steamed vegetables wrapped in banana leaf), and panang gai (red curried chicken). ..Readmore

6 of 28 . Slow down and relax by the riverside.

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Slow down and relax by the riverside.

Luang Prabang is definitely a place to get your relaxation on. Many open-air restaurants along the river make for a scenic place to eat or just hang out with a fresh fruit smoothie, a Lao specialty. Dyen Sabai was my favourite place in town; it’s a groovy, secluded setting of bamboo huts in a garden, all open-air with floor-cushion seating and games to play! To reach it, you cross a bamboo bridge; once there, it’s a place that encourages lingering, so plan a low-key afternoon around it. Their specialty is Lao fondue, which is an unique experience where you grill your own meats and veggies on your table. ..Readmore