Food and restaurants

coconut curry soup baba restaurant

Coconut curry soup served at BABA guesthouse.

BABA restaurant

During the dry season, the restaurant at BABA guesthouse is open everyday from 7am, serving both Lao and Western food. Our ingredients are all fresh, tasty, and we pay big attention to the cleanliness of our cuisine.

Food and specialities of Don Det

Most of vegetables and fruits in Don Det come from local producers, as well as meat and fish. As a result, the food prepared here and served in the restaurants is mainly biological and health benefits.

One of the specialties in Don Det is called «laap fish» (or «laap paa» in Lao). Different from the Thai version, this dish in Don Det is cooked and flavored with lime juice, roasted ground rice and fresh herbs, mixed with mint and optionally chili and vegetables. Roughly ground toasted rice is an important component in the preparation, and the laap fish is usually served with sticky rice and raw vegetables.


Fresh laap fish from the Mekong in Don Det

Culinary specialty of Don Det, the green papaya salad («tam maak hoong» in Lao) is prepared in a mortar, sometimes mixed with tomatos and carrot. The fruit is sliced and the dish usually combines five main tastes of the local cuisine : sour lime, salty, fish sauce, sugar, and hot chili, although most of the foreigners eat it not very spicy.
This salad is very savory, because when not yet ripe, papaya has a slightly tangy flavor. The texture is crisp and firm, sometimes to the point of crunchiness. It is this that allows the fruit to withstand being beaten in the mortar.


Papaya salad in the menu at BABA restaurant.

The steamed fish in banana leaf is another fine dish served in several restaurants of Don Det. This local recipe combines catfish from the Mekong, egg and salt together with coriander leaves, coconut, cumin seeds, garlic and optionally green chillies. It's a delicious soft paste served in the plate with the green banana leaf. The dish is usually accompanied with tender sticky rice.


Steamed fish in banana leaf in the center of Don Det.

Among the other typical dishes, you'll be able to taste in Don Det fresh spring rolls or fried spring rolls served with a peanut sauce, traditional noddle soup («foe» in Lao) and fried rice («kao pat»), fried vegetables served with plain rice or sticky rice, grilled porc, beef or fish, savory fruits salads and rice cakes with coconut milk.

The tropical fruits you'll be able to find in the shops of Don Det or in the market of Nakasang are numerous. Depending on the season, there are pineapples, watermelons, bananas, papayas, mangos, mangosteens, dragon fruits, apples, durians, oranges, several varieties of lychees, grapefruits, sugar apples, star fruits, longkongs, tamarins, caimitos, and more !


Sweet mangosteens.

Good places to eat

They're many restaurants in Don Det that prepare tasty and fresh food, the most populous are located in the center.

Little Eden restaurant, whose owner is a Belgian, serves Lao and western cuisine and is very reputated in the island. The view on the sunset side of Don Det is breathtaking, and the eclectic menu features various specialties, such as tender New Zealand beef steak, laap catfish and spring rolls.

Mama Leuah restaurant enjoys excellent reviews from nearly all travellers. The portions are generous and the menu features German and Lao dishes, like schnitzels, green curries, chicken cordon bleu, or vegetables patties.

King Kong restaurant serves delicious pizzas, and Mama Pian before the bus station has a very large panel of dishes.

Expect a long wait in most of the restaurants in Don Det and Don Khone, especially during the high season. Sometimes more than 1 hour goes between the order and the delivering, but fortunately very often the wait is worth it !

Bon appetit !

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