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We went to Dyen Sabai restaurant after spotting an advert for it on the edge of the bamboo bridge in Luang Prabang. It is a very funky restaurant that offers a selection of Lao food and cocktails in comfortable surroundings with fabulous views of the Nam Khan river.
The restaurant is located across the river from the main sites of Luang Prabang. It is accessible via a number of ways. During the dry season you can walk across the bamboo bridge, which costs a few pennies before six but is free after. At night it is lit up by rather pretty chain lights which guide you all the way up to the restaurant. In the rainy season when the bridge isn't there, you can get one of their free water taxis. There are also two permanent bridges that you can use (one of which is for pedestrians and mopeds only). it is well sign posted.
We actually booked a table the night before we visited, which I would recommend because it is a very popular place for dining and just for chilling out. One of their signature dishes is the fondue, which requires a special table so if you want that (and you should!), you'll need to tell them when you are booking. We got to choose our table when we booked, which was nice. It is quite a big restaurant and there are lots of different tables. There are some little nooks with larger tables in that are almost like private rooms. There are also lots of tables where you sit on the floor, which is what we did, and I recommend wearing loose fitting pants!!
We went for the fondue, which is where you get a little contraption that my husband said looks like a giant 1980s style lemon squeezer, which is placed a bucket of hot coals. You get a basket filled with fresh vegetables, eggs and noodles and then a plate of meat of your choosing. We actually opted for steak and then an extra portion of chicken. There was plenty of food and we probably could have gone without the second plate of meat but it was nice to have the choice. You get a quick lesson on how to cook your dish and then away you go. You pour some stock into the bowl part and then throw in your vegetables, an egg and some noodles along with as much chilli and garlic as you like to make a stir fry soup type thing and then you cook the meat on the top. It is a whole lot of fun and even with two novices, the end product was actually very delicious. We found that we had enough ingredients for three large bowls of food each which was more than enough for us. To be completely honest, I probably wouldn't order the fondue again because I personally prefer to have my food cooked for me by the professionals, but you definitely have to do it once because it really is fantastic fun.
The restaurant has a very chilled out atmosphere and you could easily go there for a couple of drinks or for a full meal. They have a selection of board games and books that you can use whilst you are there, which shows that they are creating an atmosphere of laid back fun and we really enjoyed it. The surroundings are fantastic and the restaurant is mainly al fresco so you can soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the natural surroundings.
The restaurant is open all day and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can choose from their wide selection of cocktails which range from £2 to £5 each. Tips are all shared amongst all the staff. They ahve a pretty good website at www.dyensabai.com, which has directions, menu and a bit of information about the restaurant and its origins.
We paid about £17 for two of us to have the fondue (with extra meat), dessert and a couple of drinks each including some delicious cocktails for me. This is exceptional value for money even in a country where prices are comparatively low anyway. I would highly recommend the restaurant for either a meal or just drinks and a relax.
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