Mekong fish are a very famous in terms of Lao cuisine, eaten by local fishing families who live along the river which runs through the country, and of course, also served at restaurants and eateries.
One of the most plentiful areas for Mekong fish is southern Champassak province, where the large fish catches are shipped as far north as the capital Vientiane as well as throughout the southern provinces.
One restaurant where hungry diners can find Champassak fish fresh out of the river is Mrs Ngiam Mernsanith’s floating restaurant in Thamuang village, Pathoumphon district, Champassak province.
The floating restaurant is located on the banks of the Mekong River close to the ferry port in Thamuang village where people cross the river to Vat Phou world heritage site in Champassak district.
Customers who want to visit the restaurant can travel by van service or taxi from Pakxe district, heading 30km along Road No 13 South before turning right onto the road to the ferry port at Thamuang village and driving a further 5km to reach the restaurant.
Mrs Ngiam told Vientiane Times on Friday that our restaurant has been open for more than 20 years and our main menu to attract customers is the fresh Mekong fish. Customers can directly select live fish from our cage on the river for us to cook.
Mostly of our customers like Pakhuek (a kind of calf fish) and Paphon (a kind of scaled fish), which are famous Mekong fish to cook laab (pulverised meat), koi (sliced meat), mokkhee pa (fish with innards), luak pa (boiled fish eaten with sauce), p ing pa (grilled fish) and tompa (fish soup), she explained.
Pakhuek fish sells for 100,000kip per kilogramme and Paphon fish for 80,000kip per kg, which customers can have the restaurant chefs cook any way they would like it in accordance with the menu.
Cooking does not incur any extra charges.
Mrs Ngiam added that customers will have to pay extra for sticky rice or steamed rice, desert and drinks. Meanwhile, the restaurant can also serve duck and chicken dishes but customers have to order them in advance so they have time to be prepared.
Our customers are mostly from state and private sectors offices in our province, while local p eople and tourists also come here during the week and over the weekend, she said.
Last week, this reporter had the chance to visit Mrs Ngiam’s floating restaurant while in the south visiting relatives and can vouch that her fish really is fresh and delicious.
The atmosphere was also very tranquil and you could watch local people going about their daily lives.
Cattle were feeding on the banks of the river, river traffic was passing and there were many fishing boats tied up on the water’s edge.
There is no shortage of beautiful photos waiting to be taken in Thamuang village, Pathoumphone district. Next time you are down there don’t forget to stop past Mrs Ngiam Mernsanith’s floating restaurant.
Champassak is the southernmost province in the country, about 700 killometres by road from the capital Vientiane.
Source: Vientiane Times