The Dining District
Sichuan dishes dominate Boten’s menus, due to the large Chinese population, though you’ll find pockets
of Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese food. Most of the family-run restaurants site side-by-side along the L-
shaped “Dining District” that’s starts about 1-km from the Chinese-Lao border, just past the Sheng Hui
The Dining District begins with a right turn off Highway 13 onto Fuxing Road, and runs along the Central
Business District’s (CBD) northern boundary to the Luang Namtha Road. A right turn to the north breaks
from the CBD and reveals another row of restaurants in the area around the Lao Immigration and
Sichuan Cuisine“Hot and Spicy” best describes Sichuan cuisine, though other seasonings and various cooking methods
come into play. Rare Sichuan pepper sits high on the seasonings list, alongside dried chili. Other must-
have ingredients include ginger, garlic, broad bean chili paste, and shallots. Cooking methods run from
the popular fast-frying to stir-frying, steaming, braising, and baking.
Noodles play a big part in a Sichuan diet, and Boten’s eateries present bowlfuls. Dan Dan Noodles are
the mainstay, and is gaining global fame. Variations can be nutty, spicy, or smoky, and most are topped
with minced pork. Others dishes to try include Sichuan Cold Noodles and various Spicy Sichuan Noodles.
Among main dishes enjoyed by Westerners is the somewhat spicy Kung Pao Chicken prepared by frying
diced chicken with dry red peppers and peanuts. Fuqi Fei Pian is another favorite, made with thinly sliced
beef seasoned with chili oil. Foodies will find the Sichuan Hot Pot a challenge to their palate. Floating in
the strong herb-and-spicy broth is everything from chicken breast, duck, and spring onions to kidney
slices, goose intestines and sea cucumbers.
Boten’s hotels offer dining options, but the Dining District presents an authentic edible experience in
mostly small, family-owned eateries. Starting at the Highway 13 junction, Sesuan Chasang Restaurant
sits in the strip mall and opens to Fuxing Road. You’ll find Dan Dan and a choice of Spicy Sichuan
Noodles along with dumplings. Outside dining is available.
The next block on Fuxing Road runs along the northern tip of the CBD with its under-construction high-
rise hotels and office buildings. Here, the more upscale Xiang Zhongyao Restaurant faces the modern
mini-city and serves fish, beef, pork, and chicken dishes with steamed rice and vegetable platters. The
menu also features a selection of foreign beers, wines, and spirits. The restaurant can host large groups,
and becomes a lively hangout at night. Across Fuxing Road near Luang Namtha Road sits a row of small
noodle shops. At the intersection, you’ll find the modest Inviting Restaurant, serving the classics: Dan
Dan and a choice of Spicy Sichuan Noodles.
Rounding the corner onto Luang Namtha Road presents another string of hole-in-the-wall noodle shops,
with some offering a view of Boten’s forest. The eateries start at Suay Ke Restaurant at the junction, with
Bao Shan and Chong Hui sitting a few steps away from the Lao Immigration and Customs Office. Wei
Thien presents a choice of Sichuan dishes across the street from the Bao San Hotel. Further along, you’ll
find the Bangkok Pub & Restaurant offering a Thai menu and some pub grub, along with a choice of
coffees, beers, and spirits. At night, the scene perks up with live music.