Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lao Cultural Dance at Sonphao

Lao Ethnic Cafe & Dining ( Sonphao ) diagonally across from Wat Xieng Muan is a restaurant with Lao and Japanese food that offers a 45-minute traditional traditional song & dance show starting at 7:30 pm — just drop by a few days ahead and make a reservation.
The restaurant is clean with simple decor, not big with seating on both the ground floor and the second floor, where the show takes place. You can just have food there without watching the show or pay 25,000 kip for the show without having food there.

We arrived a bit early to have dinner. The food there came in small portions but was well-plated and tasty. The fried spring rolls with pork we had was very good. Fresh spring rolls (25,000 kip) were just alright. The Mekong fish steamed in banana leaf (35,000 kip) was small but delicious. The curry with rice (35,000 kip) was also decent.

Their Lao whiskey cocktails were really nice, at 25,000 kip each. Both the passion fruit one and the pineapple coconut one I had were fantastically fruity.

As it's partly run by a young Japanese lady, the wait staff seemed very well-trained. The good service made dining very pleasant, even though the chairs were not the most comfortable.
The dance program consisted of 4 short routines, with a live traditional 2-man band. It was an intimate setting with just 3 dancers on a small stage. They sang, danced, and changed outfits. To be honest, the dancing in all 4 parts seemed very similar to us. It was fairly entertaining as it was short and sweet.

All the performers looked quite young. With the exception of one very enthusiastic musician, all of them looked a little bored at some point. The dancers were lovely but seemed a bit shy and unsure of themselves at times. I enjoyed the music a lot until they started playing some cheesy Western tunes towards the end.
Overall, it was a good experience for tourists like us, but I think if you're expecting real professional dancing, this is probably not the place for you.