Come for the garden, stay for lunch.
Luang Prabang is well known for its restaurant scene with travellers and locals delighting in a wide range of local, western, and fusion food, catering to all budgets. One restaurant making a splash is the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden Cafe. Recently listed in Forbes Magazine’s World’s Ten Best ‘Farm to Table’ Dining Experiences, this cafe is located within the stunning Botanical Gardens.
‘Farm to Table’ is a growing social movement in the restaurant world. It generally refers to restaurants cooking with ingredients that are grown on site or locally, bought directly from local farms or at local farmers’ markets. The movement has a strong focus on education and Pha Tad Ke exemplifies this aspect with its various educational programs. Many of the ingredients used in the dishes served by the cafe are grown within the gardens, in the Organic and Educational Garden Installation, which visitors can visit while in the gardens.
The menu is a selection of Lao dishes, expertly prepared by Chef Chan. The menu is chosen by the General Director of Pha Tad Ke, Rik Gadella, in consultation with Chef Chan. It features familiar favourites such as laap (a salad of minced fish, chicken or tofu and lots of herbs), yam som oh (fresh pomelo salad with fried fish), nyam khao (rice salad with tamarind sauce and pork meatballs) and tam som (spicy papaya salad). Many of the dishes can be served vegetarian and Chef Chan can adjust the spice to accommodate those not yet fully immersed in local cuisine. Our table’s favorite dishes were kai khi hut (chicken stir fried with kaffir lime leaves) and yam som oh.
Yam Som Oh
Chef Chan’s family run the famous Boat Landing Restaurant in Luang Namtha and it was here that she developed her cooking skills. The Boat Landing have their own cookbook, but since branching out by herself at Pha Tad Ke, Chef Chan has created her own book. Pha Tad Ke was visited by Chef Seng Luangrath of the famous Thip Khao restaurant in Washington D.C. While Chef Seng was in the gardens, she trained Chef Chan in meal presentation, so you can be sure that not only will your meal be delicious but worthy of the all important instagram post.
Tickets to Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens can be purchased directly
from the Reception Centre in Ban Wat That. Visitors can purchase
a set meal with their ticket or choose their own dishes at the cafe.
For more information, visit: pha-tad-ke.com
Text: DAVID ORMSBY
Photos:CYRIL EBERLE & DAVID ORMSBY