Restaurant Review – Joma Bakery Cafe – Vientiane, Luang Prabang

Joma is my "go-to" retreat in Vientiane, and now Luang Prabang. Their shops are always pleasant retreats to rest up after trudging around the city. They’re comfortable, with air conditioning, daily papers from Laos and Thailand, wi-fi and free-flowing drinking water.

Then, of course, there’s the coffee and the bakery. Joma makes the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in Southeast Asia – if you know of a better one, be sure to leave a comment so I can check it out. The coffee, which they roast themselves using Lao arabicas, is very good. Mind you, the barista in Vientiane is better than the one in Luang Prabang, but as the latter branch is new, hopefully they will improve with age.

Joma’s food menu is a little more extensive than what you might expect from a coffee shop, which makes it a place you may want to consider for a meal other than breakfast. I tried the BLT in the Luang Prabang branch, and it was very good.

Joma Luang Prabang
Joma’s Luang Prabang branch, seen through the "dragons" on the stairs of a temple across the street.

Joma has two branches in Vientiane, but the one you’re likely to find convenient is within sight of the fountain. The Luang Prabang branch is near the post office just a short walk from Wat Mai. They also now have two branches in Hanoi, although I have yet to visit these. All branches are open from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm. See Joma’s web site for additional information.

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4 comments on “Restaurant Review – Joma Bakery Cafe – Vientiane, Luang Prabang
  1. Rodney Jamison says:

    Joma definitey has a better selection of baked goods and stuff, but their coffee is not very good at all. The best coffee is without a doubt Saffron, but it is a little hard to find and I don’t think they have a shop in Vientiane (do you know if they do?) so a lot of people haven’t heard about it. Saffron’s coffee is actually from Luang Prabang and it is delicious. You’ll never want to drink Jo-mud again!

  2. michael says:

    Sorry, I haven’t heard of Saffron. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in Luang Prabang.

    I would agree that the coffee at the Luang Prabang branch of Joma is not as good as in Vientiane. I was in the coffee business – used to judge barista competitions in fact – so I’m trained to know a good cup of coffee. As I said, the barista in Vientiane – when I was there – was excellent, and the barista is the one that can turn a good coffee bean into a great cappuccino, or dishwater.

  3. Jiccle says:

    It is very good news to know that many fa lang are interested in lao coffee. I hope this business will be making huge profit for the coffee owner. However, I don’t see starbuck, barista…or any brand settle in Laos.

  4. michael says:

    For foreign brands to come into a market, they need at least two things: One is a local entrepreneur with the business skills and the money to build the brand locally. In the case of Starbucks, it takes a lot of money since they expect a rapid expansion rate regardless of profitability at first and don’t allow franchising. The other thing they need is a fair and predictable legal framework to protect their brand. I’m afraid Laos, for the most part, doesn’t have enough of either of those things.