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The Sandwich in Laos That’s Worthy of a Pilgrimage

Amazing Sandwich

Amazing Sandwich

Where can you find the best sandwiches on earth?

Would you go to Italy for their scrumptious selection of hams and deli meats, or to the United States for gigantic meat and cheese filled subs, or even to Chile for an outstanding churrasco completo?

I'm going to take you on a little culinary journey to SE Asia, land of (mostly) rice and noodles – and a sandwich so good, it's worthy of a pilgrimage.

Ok, I can't claim this is the absolute best sandwich in the world…but I can safely say that it's just about the best thing wrapped in bread that I have ever experienced in my life.

Laos Iced Coffee

Laos Iced Coffee

To get to this sandwich of wonders requires a visit to the relaxing country of Laos, and more specifically, to the quiet central town of Savannakhet.

There's not a lot to do in this town, in fact, a few hours of walking around and you'll have seen just about everything there is to offer.

About the only reason you'd want to stay longer is to take full advantage of the sandwich that will seduce you.

Sweet Milk Coffee

Sweet Milk Coffee

When I first arrived at the small restaurant in central Savannakhet, all I was after was a cup of stout Vietnamese style iced coffee (they make it the same in Laos – under the order of the French).

But then I observed a table of Laotians ordering food, and when I smelled and saw what came to their table, I had ordered breakfast without even thinking about it.

It didn't take long for the outdoor sidewalk restaurant to be unleashing heavenly aromas into the entire neighborhood.

The sweet perfume of sizzling beef mixed with their secret sauce and ingredients was so overwhelming that I had to sit on my hands to refrain myself from grabbing the cook's food right out of the pan.

Sandwich is Savannakhet

Sandwich is Savannakhet

It was a true test of patience, waiting that long five minutes for my sandwich to arrive. But then it came.

Within just a few moments, I had devoured the entire mini-baguette, without even taking a single photo. Good thing I immediately ordered another one!

This time, though I was still just as excited as before, I was willing to take my time, shoot plenty of food porn photos and do a little dissection to find out what was inside.

Ingredients of the Sandwich

Ingredients of the Sandwich

It all began with tender slices of choice beef marinated in a sweet soy sauce, sesame seeds, and stalks of green onion.

The cook first added the beef to a scorching hot pan, and let the meat cook in its own juices until it was done, but not overcooked.

Slicing open a fresh crusty baguette, she added the beef into the bread. With the beef juices still coating the pan, she cracked an egg and let it fry until it was just barely done, yet still beautifully runny.

The egg was placed on top of the beef along with a few sprinkles of this and that and a generous scoop of chili flakes.

Every bite was an enlightening mouthful of pleasure in its purest form.

If you do make it to Savannakhet, Laos, all you need to remember is that you can find this sandwich right across the street from the tallest building (a bank) in town.

Go in the morning for breakfast.

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Sunday 14th of May 2017

I am Laotian born in America and I have never been to my parents motherland. I have friends who are not Laotian that recently came back from a month long trip to Southeast Asia.(By Southeast Asia, I mean 3 weeks in Thailand and 1week in Laos.) Our group of friends eat a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine here in Sacramento, CA. There is many Thai, Lao, and Vietnamese restaurants and we pretty much know where the good food is.With that being said, they were really impressed with the Thai food vendors in Thailand. They said almost everything they ate was delicious and they got a big bang for their buck there. However, they said in Laos they did not really like the food there as far as the pho and pad Thai goes. But they raved about the sandwiches and said they said it was cheap and delicious. I've had many bahn mi's but can't wait to try a real authentic khao gee pate from Laos. We are planning on going in 2018 and will try to check out Savahnaket. Kopchai or kop koon kahp for sharing!


Saturday 18th of June 2016

For one thing, the town of Savannakhet is populated by Vietnamese; admittedly Viet-Lao, most of them, but they identify as Viets and that's what they speak at home. For another, the 'Laos iced coffee' is Vietnamese, and so is the sandwich. Can you get them in Laos? Sure. I ate those sandwiches regularly when I lived in Vientiane, they're made all over the place on the streets. I didn't keep stats, but I'd say at least a third of the time they gave me gut cramps and diarrhea. Do your really think those fingers making your sandwich are clean? Or mayonnaise and meat kept out in the heat at 90 degrees is safe? Enjoy! I wouldn't mind a good one right now - but this is America.

Lauren @ All Things Go!

Sunday 28th of July 2013

Oh my, that looks pretty special. I need to get me to this town immediately!

Francis Liew

Monday 14th of January 2013

The sandwich looks absolutely yummy. Will visit Ventiene and Luang Prabang in March 2013. Can't wait to sink my fangs into one of these little buggers. Thanks for the info.


Wednesday 16th of November 2011

That sandwich looks amazing! If I ever make it to Laos, that will definitely be on my list!

Mark Wiens

Wednesday 16th of November 2011

You got to try it!

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