Khao piak khao is a Lao favorite. This thick rice soup (called khao tom in Thailand) usually comes with pork meatballs, scallions, crisp deep-fried garlic, slivers of ginger and cilantro. For a really hearty meal, ask to add an egg (khai) and get deep-fried dough fritters for dipping — they are often sold at a neighbouring stand.
Once the steaming bowl arrives, locals add condiments like a chemist: lime juice, chillies, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, MSG, ubiquitous Maggi sauce and whatever else is available on the table. We like the stand on the main street across from Wat Mai. Her khao piak khao does contain cubes of pig blood but if that doesn’t appeal to you, just ask for it without. It’s only 10,000 kip and be quick — it usually sells out by 09:30. Another popular spot is at the junction of the Mekong River and Kitsalat Road, near the moning market.
Not to be confused with the rice soup, khao piak is a noodle soup with thick handmade rice flour noodles and a delicious broth. Again, part of the fun is all the condiments and fixings like bean sprouts, poached egg, deep-fried garlic and crunchy rice crackers for dipping. Xiengthong Noodle on the main street serves up one of the best in town, only 12,000 kip a bowl with pork and egg. Opened 07:00 until 14:00.