Unless you’ve had an experience in doing a visa run in Laos, then you might never heard of a place called ‘Savannakhet’ before. Well, at least, I don’t know this small town until I got to do a visa run for my ED Visa in the nearest Thai Consulate. It’s a really small town, where there’s only one inbound and outbound flight every day. I was shocked the day I landed, where the immigration officer still do everything almost manually and they don’t have the luggage trail for you to claim your baggage. So basically, you just go past through the immigration desk and you’ll see a lot of luggage just standing there waiting to be claimed. And it shocked me again when you can’t find any taxi stand in the arrival lobby, so make sure you’re fast enough to grab any private driver who already wait for you outside, or else it would be really hard to find a transportation around. No public bus, no nothing. Definitely you just have to call a tuk-tuk, but too bad even a tuk tuk is really hard to find around here. You might want to prepare a Laos money before arriving, since there’s no ATM in the airport where you can cash out from your Visa or Mastercard card. They do receive Thai Baht as well (tuk-tuk driver, hotel, restaurant, supermarket, basically everywhere), but you’ll have some currency loss if you pay by Thai Baht. I was an accountant, so I definitely hate having a currency loss, so I prefer to pay by Laos Kip.
Everything here is cheap that it’ll make your eyes pop out, wondering whether the price written on the menu is correct or not. But of course, if you want to have some decent meal, you would want to go downtown and the price would be more costly (but still considered inexpensive). And don’t expect too much on the downtown, since it’s a small town, so you would have a really quiet downtown, it’s just that the area has more people going back and forth compare to the other area. I meant to try a French Restaurant which is super hard to find (Trip Advisor and Google Map both shows the wrong address, in the end I have to walk for 2.5 kilometers since I can’t find any tuk-tuk from the wrong address shown by the map). And after a 2.5 kilometers walk, I found that Trip Advisor and Google Map didn’t even provide the correct business hour of the restaurant. SURPRISED! The restaurant is closed for the day.
I was so hangry and exhausted (both my mind and body), so I decided to just go to any of the restaurant nearby (there’s not much of choices really, even it’s downtown, you only get 8-10 restaurants in the area, and only 2 of them open until 10 PM, so yeah basically I don’t have too many options). I decided to try out the Lin’s Cafe which looks more homey compare to the other restaurant. They have the menu in English, and surprisingly the staff speaks good English. They have wifi connections in the restaurant as well. And since most of their menu are Western style, so I decided to try out their Mushroom Aglio Olio and their so called Triple Cheese Pizza.
Though it looks quite common. I would like to give a two thumbs up for their Mushroom Aglio Olio. The food feels homey, the first bite will definitely makes you feel like you’re eating a home made pasta which taste really good that your taste bud could literally just dance inside your mouth. And there’s a slight spicy taste which makes it taste even more harmonious along with the cheese and mushroom. Yummy! I was planning to order for a second plate if only I didn’t order their pizza. Worried that I might not be able to finish the second portion, I decided not to order for another portion of Aglio Olio. It’s not good to waste your food!
From the name of the menu, I was actually hoping for a combination of three types of cheese on the top of my pizza. But, unfortunately, what they meant by triple cheese pizza is you got three types of different topping for a pan of pizza. I was slightly disappointed that the staff didn’t really explain to me that it doesn’t mean a combination of three types of cheese, but it’s my bad for not asking in the first hand. I should at least asked what is the cheese combination, then maybe the staff will explain that I got the wrong idea on the menu.
Anyway, the pizza comes out with Hawaiian (ham and pineapple), Mussels, and Basil. Their Basil taste just so-so, nothing really special but cannot be considered as bad. I won’t ordered their Basil taste pizza after this tryout though. But, surprisingly their Hawaiian taste real good. The pineapple didn’t taste like a pineapple which popped out from a can but taste more like pineapple that comes from sliced fruits. It’s sweet enough, and it’s refreshing enough. Taste real good with the cheese and ham and the soft yet crispy dough. And, to my surprise their Mussels pizza taste really bad. The mussels smells and taste fishy. I can’t even force myself to swallow it, so I decided to give up on trying eating their mussels pizza. One thing I can be sure of, is the seafood in Savannakhet basically just taste bad. Because not only Lin’s cafe mussels pizza, there this other restaurant where I tried their Salmon steak, and it tastes real bad. I tried to eat a grilled seafood in a tiny night market nearby my guesthouse, and it tastes horrible as well. So, basically the problem is not how they cooked it, but the problem comes from the seafood itself. Maybe it’s not fresh enough, or maybe the weather was too hot that the seafood didn’t have the freshness they should have to keep them taste good.
Overall, Lin’s Cafe worth a visit if you happen to be in this tiny town, no matter for traveling purposes or for your visa run purposes.
I love to travel and eat!! I'm a freelance Korean English Chinese Bahasa Indonesia interpreter, who love to blog and write. I worked in a plastic surgery hospital in Korea for 5 years before pursuing my interpreting and writing jobs. My previous blog on plastic surgery (which has been permanently closed down T-T) has been published in a book.