My girlfriend and I will be in SE Asia from June 13th to Aug 9th. We are scheduled to fly into Singapore and out of Bangkok. We are planning on spending a couple of days in Singapore then flying to KL for a bit and then up to Penang. We have to be in Koh Samui by June 23rd for my brothers wedding. After that, we are planning on eating our way around Asia.
Both in our twenties (don’t know if that matters)
We are both very adventurous
We are under a tight budget
This is our first time to Asia
We have very little Asian food knowledge - but we are learning
Should we go back into Malaysia and give it more time?
Recommendations for hawker centers?
Best cities for a foodie in SE Asia and why?
We would like to see some of the typical tourist sites such as, Angkor, Ha Long, and LP but for the most part we are interesting in trying the different varieties of cuisine SE Asia is known for. Also if you have recommendations of places to eat and what to eat it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks for your time!
#1 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12
I was in Kuala Lumpur for 4/5 days and it was foodie heaven! I just asked in my hostel where was good to go, where i could try 'x' kind of food etc and always got good recommendations! I stayed in the Bukit Bintang/Gold Triangle area of KL. I really enjoyed it and, although i've had no experience of staying else where, it seemed like a great spot for food and drink. I don't know what your budget is/preferences but i loved RED PALM in KL; check it out on hostel world. You definately need to book in advance though - although, don't do it through Hostelworld as they accept bookings via email.
If you want to know about food in Laos check out 'Ant Egg Soup' by Natasha Du Pont Die Bie. I didn't think Luang Prabang was that great for food. Seemed like a lot of places geared toward charging westerners a lot more for Lao food you could find much cheaper elsewhere. Then again, i'm quite tight with money.
I hear 'Ipoh' (?) halfway between KL and Penang is a real street food heaven, although i've never been myself. If you want to know about Malaysian food you might like to try check out; http://rasamalaysia.com/ although its a cookery site, it has all the major dishes i think.
Thank you all for getting back to me so soon!
I forgot to mention that we are only traveling on the mainland! (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia specifically)
caseyprich- Bourdain is awesome. I always get so hungry watching his show. Is Nyonya the only specific fusion designated title or is there one for Indian and Malay? Can I find Chinese and Indian? Is there more than that? What about Thai and Indian?
steve81- Thank you very much! That site is a wealth of knowledge. It seems to focus on some of the larger cities however. Do you know of any smaller cities/towns/villages/whatever we might like to take a look at?
christay2009- my budget is very tight. I checked out red palm and it looks great. How far in advance do you think we need to book it? Thanks for the info on the book. I am going to go see if my local library has it. Did you travel anywhere else in Laos? Was there any regional variation? What were some of the things you liked best about Lao cooking? Ipoh is directly inline with our train travels, so we are going to try and check it out. Our problem is that we have such a limited time in Malaysia. That’s why I was wondering if we should turn back after the wedding and give it more time. We just don’t know if the travel time and cost of returning will hurt us too much. There’s always next time right!
Another question: how much of a French influence still exists in Vietnamese and Laotian cooking? Is there anything in particular we should try that would really demonstrate the fusion?
#5 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12
The best Indian and Chinese food I've ever eaten was in Kuala Lumpur. Outstanding!
If you take the single-line railway from Thonburi (across the river from Bangkok) to Mahachai, you'll find yourself in a seafood wonderland. Mahachai is where all the shrimp and squid boats, and deep-sea trawlers come in to unload their catches. The town is loaded with fresh and dried seafood markets. There are a couple of seafood restaurants right beside the pedestrian ferry. If you're into seafood, don't miss this place. It's also great for photo ops. Just getting there on the train is a mini-adventure. Excellent for a daytrip out of the city.
The nightmarket in Trat is excellent for "hoi tohd" (fried mussel pancakes with beansprouts.)
Sukhothai night market for phad thai.
Prachuap Khiri Khan for "yum pla-deuk fou" (crispy catfish salad.)
Tilapia- Thank you very very much! I love seafood so i am going to be in heaven! Any recommendations for Penang?
#7 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12
It's been a while since I was on Penang so I can't really comment on any particular place. Excellent street food, though. My diary says that I was knocked out by the food, especially the laksa lemak, and how inexpensive it was, especially in Georgetown.
I've been following a very elequent travelling foodie blog, and the couple have just passed through South East Asia. Here's their rap-up post here, for links to all blogs in the area, see the bottom of the post.
For my tip, when you're in Penang make sure you try the Kaya bread in a run down hawker stall cafe in Madras Lane. It's the snack of champions.
#10 cuturhair has been a member since 30/4/2010. Posts: 1
Check out http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/ which I just learned about from http://bkmagazine.com/feature/foodiesblog
#11 AndrewHurd has been a member since 30/4/2010. Posts: 1
Thank you everyone for all your input!
I found this site for Hanoi:
Starting to compile all my findings in a notebook but fear our trip is just too short!
#12 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12
In Vietnam, the best cities for a foodie are Hue and Hoi An. After Malaysia and Thailand, Vietnamese food will seem fairly uninspired, I'm sure, but it is of a high quality. Vietnamese coffee is out of this world - be sure to order Ca Fe Sua Da - Vietnamese filtered ice coffee with sweetened condensed milk. This link to the Hanoi expat site lists the better restaurants in the capital city (one of the most interesting cities in Asia):
Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic eating city. But I loved Georgetown in Penang and Melaka just as much, if not more. So much variety of brilliant cuisines... Malay, Perakenan, Indian, Chinese... Portuguese in Melaka as well. I wrote a fair bit about some of my meals in those places on my blog (http://www.bettylovesblogging.com)... I still have notes I haven't blogged yet.
I remember eating very well in both Hanoi and Hoi An in Vietnam as well, but it was a loooong time ago that I went.
Eating Asia is one of the greatest Asian food blogs around in my opinion, and has many, many suggestions... as well as brilliant photos for your trip... check it out at http://eatingasia.typepad.com