A love letter to my favourite bakery cafe in Laos

Joma bakery and cafe in Laos
© Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

Dear Joma Bakery Cafe,

Loving you is easy because your food is beautiful. When eating Western food is all I want to do, your menu is like a dream come true.

There are delicious pastries and cakes just like Mum used to bake, enough breakfast choices to fuel my indecision, bagels and sandwiches with everything on them, and fresh green salads you can fill up on.

My mind is telling me no, that I’m in Laos and I should eat the local food, but my body is telling me yes. I’ve been gone for so long and I’m craving some Western-style goodness – a proper coffee, a big piece of pizza, a chocolate-chip cookie, anything.

You’re like an island in an ocean of rice, an oasis in a desert of noodles. Eastern food is fantastic but sometimes every traveller needs a taste of home, to be able to choose something from a menu and just know what they’re in for.

You fill my stomach with gladness, that’s what you do.

Joma Bakery Cafe in Vientiane, Laos
Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

Your air-conditioning is like sunshine on a cloudy day – or blessed relief on an incredibly hot one, which is more likely the case in Southeast Asia.

Your free Wifi is about as fast as it comes – in Laos, at least – and your branches in Vientiane and Luang Prabang are nice and comfortable. You must know some people use you only as a place to relax, to Skype or Tweet while nursing one small coffee, but you’re okay with that – and that’s another reason why I think you’re great.

The magic is lost somewhat in Hanoi, Vietnam, where you’re a tad out of a backpacker’s price range (in comparison with the price of local restaurants) but, otherwise, when a relaxed, chilled-out vibe is just what I’m looking for, Joma, you’re the one.

Unforgettable, that’s what you are – and you’re yet another reason to love travelling in Laos.

Yours sincerely,

Man vs World

In Luang Prabang? Then also check out what I had to say about Utopia, the prettiest bar in all of Southeast Asia.

About Simon Petersen 505 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.


  1. I’m in two minds! Joma IS nice and the service IS good, but in both LP and Vientiane Scandinavia is much cheaper. Scandinavia has other problems though – in Vientiane I swear they have gone out and made a point of hiring the only non friendly Laotians you will ever meet!

  2. It is funny how we crave little tastes from home when we are away.

    For me it is natural peanut butter, hot sauce from home, and sometimes fast food breakfast sandwiches. Occasionally I dream of them.

    How I wish we had a Timmy’s on the corner especially when I am hung over!

  3. I HEART Joma! After spending 10 weeks in a little village outside of Udon Thani, Thailand I had to make a visa run to Laos. Joma was my first stop! I think I faceplanted into a chocolate chip cookie, italian sandwich, and an iced tea! After wandering around a bit and having a Beer Lao, I think we might have even stopped back for dessert! The next two summers I spent in Laos, so every time I could I would go to Joma. Especially LOVE the one in Luang Prabang!

    • Joma lovers of the world unite! Haha, I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m not here to give restaurants and cafes free advertising but I have to highlight the brilliant ones like Joma

  4. Ahh, a taste of home is always nice if you’ve been gone for a while. I had fish and chips for the first time EVER in my three+ years in Korea a couple of months ago and it was so good that I could have faceplanted into the tartare sauce.

    Thanks for the tip on this cafe, by the way – I plan on being in Laos around October/November next year!

    • Hahah, I’m not sure I could go that long without fish and chips – and if I did I’d be swimming in the tartare alright! And possibly ordering seconds and thirds…

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