Skip to content

Vientiane

March 15, 2011

The food is superb, but that is not the only reason to dine at Makphet Restaurant in Vientiane. Makphet provides vocational training for young people at risk, and is part of a Street Children Project run by Friends-International (see their website here).
The project has several components. Graduates of Makphet are supported to find employment. Other children are assisted to return to school. Home based enterprises enable parents of children at risk to make additional income so that their children can stop working and go to school. The products of these enterprises were on display at Makphet, and included clothes and craft of higher quality and more original design than we had seen elsewhere.

The menu was extensive and included a variety of laaps, the traditional Lao meat and vegetable salads. The dishes were beautifully presented and the staff and trainees served us in a professional manner. It was the best food of the trip.

Sometimes we may resist the “sights” when visiting a city for the first time, but Laos has an intriguing history and the temples and monuments provide a way of entering that history. The National Museum helped me feel the tragedy of the country being dragged into the Cold War. The That Dam Stupa reminded me of an earlier disaster, when the Thais ransacked the city and took the gold that once covered the stupa.

Pha That Luang is the national monument (pictured) and is claimed to contain a relic of the Buddha’s breast bone. It is big and glorious, but I was ambivalent about its shape. Its lines are angular, lacking the peaceful curves of other stupas such as the That Dam. It felt more nationalistic than Buddhist.

The “sights” provided a taste of Lao history. But for me the highlights of my time in Vientiane were visiting COPE (see previous post) and dining at Makphet.

Pha That Luang, Vientiane

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: