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.
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.
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.