Luang Prabang still caters to backpackers, but also to the 5 star hotel crowd. That means there’s a lot more upmarket eating, which is sometimes disappointing and sometimes wonderful, but usually exciting. My manner of backpacking these days means I still have income and I like air conditioning sometimes, so as much as I love hole in the wall eateries I also enjoy treating myself. Luang Prabang is a good place for splurges and treats, and if you have the time and a few extra quid to spare then check out L’Elephant Vert in Luang Prabang.
I’m hoping to keep this write up shorter than the 400 pages I wrote about L’Elephant Vert in my notebook. The way this place works is you pick a set menu from a selection of set menus. It’s posh and everything is fancy. Did I mention the entire eatery is vegan? I mean, like detox level vegan, where everything has honey and they use words like chlorophyll and elixir in the same sentence. Also, I ate flowers. I literally ate flowers.
Raw carrot and ginger biscuits with chlorophyll and garden greens elixir: salty and spicy ginger biscuits that taste a little like molasses. The elixir is cooling and doesn’t taste like grass, but what’s the green stuff floating at the bottom of my glass?
Warm miso, green onions, ginger, and marinated tofu: strong flavours, as expected, and crazy salty. Delicious soup but the flower decoration tastes like lawn clippings.
Seasonal vegetable tower with pepper leaves and peanut dressing: More flower petals and I don’t see the point. Peanut sauce overwhelms the delicate flavour of the otherwise good dish.
Garden of eden salad with tomato sambal with lime and mint: This is a flower salad. An entire salad made of flowers and the sambal is an astringent vanilla sauce that isn’t entirely unpleasant even though my choice of words makes it sound like I’m describing the scent of toilet cleaner flavoured cupcakes. Look, I would never make this at home, but it was neat to try something as unique as this dish. Plus it was stunningly beautiful. I would eat it again.
Carrot and cashew kheer: It’s a vanilla cashew pudding with a nice texture, but I’m pretty sure the sweetness came from honey.
Mint and cinnamon herbal tea: You know how most teas smell like heaven? And then you taste it and you’re like wait what just happened? Now I want to make mint and cinnamon sorbet though.
L’Elephant Vert is a nice place, if a little on the pricey side, and I enjoyed my meal because it was unique. Some of the flavours are bold and I like that, even if I disagreed with some of the pairings. I walked out the door stuffed. Be sure to ask about each individual menu item if you want to avoid honey.