Paste at The Apsara opened this weekend in Luang Prabang serving a creative take on historical Lao cuisine. The opening is a partnership between Paste Bangkok chefs Bee Satongun and Jason Bailey, and owner of boutique hotel The Apsara, Ivan Scholte.
The opening by a chef associated with a Michelin-starred restaurant is a landmark moment for the still-sleepy town, and comes not a moment too soon for planners who have previously struggled to cater a three-day itinerary. The 32-seat restaurant (plus an undercover terrace for 12) is sure to become a destination for groups visiting Laos, with innovative dishes pleasing discerning diners – and their social media feeds.
After winning Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘Best Female Chef in Asia’ award earlier this year, there were plenty of offers to go further afield, but Chef Bee has a deep-rooted heritage in Thai and Lao cuisine. She particularly wanted to honour her Hmong ancestry, while playing with and developing Lao food in the way she has with Thai. She will divide her time evenly between Paste Bangkok and Paste Laos.
While Paste Bangkok is about ‘heirloom Thai cuisine’, Paste Laos is all about “getting the mountains of Luang Prabang onto a plate”, she says. Her team will be curing, pickling and fermenting over 100 different ingredients. There are two tasting menus suitable for groups of at least four people, each offers eight or nine courses for 380,000 kip (US$45) or 420,000 kip (US$50) per person.