5 Best Foodie Cities in Southeast Asia

When it comes to foodie cities, Southeast Asia, without a doubt, hosts some of the most exciting cuisines and street food destinations the world has to offer. It is like a foodie paradise here, but it is also a bit daunting for those arriving new to the region. So here we are sharing our 5 favourite food cities in Southeast Asia, and while we would love to include many more, we also hope to keep it simple with just one city from our favourite Southeast Asia foodie destinations.

Having travelled through each country in Southeast Asia, calling at seemingly countless destinations on the way, there will always be a handful of destinations which really stand out when it comes to foodie cities in Southeast Asia. Admittedly these are always cities as well, with just ridiculous abundance and diversity in cuisine that you can eat for weeks yet still barely scratch the surface. All easily reached by quick flights with goair.

Bangkok, Thailand

I may be a bit biassed here but Bangkok is easily my favourite foodie city in Southeast Asia. It is also a huge city, famous for its street food, with many simple street food staples being awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand and even Michelin stars. It is also a diverse city with contrasting tourist areas to explore. The Sukhumvit and Silom area are great for more modern/contemporary cuisine, the Siam area is built up with megamalls filled with the Kingdom’s famous chain restaurants, then the riverside and old city is all about authentic shophouse style restaurants. Then there is Chinatown. And you could happily spend weeks exploring each area. Check here for our favourite street food and cheap eats in Bangkok.

Georgetown (Penang), Malaysia

If you are in Malaysia and if you are a foodie you can find plenty of options in Georgetown Penang. Over the years, Penang Island has become an island that offers the best street food options to many tourists who visit this place. If you prefer to eat Chinese food you can visit Tek Sen which is one of the popular Chinese restaurants in Georgetown. Here you can start your meal with the best double roasted pork which is a sweet and salty cuisine. On the other hand, you can also get your hands on Assam Laksa which is a delicious broth made from fish and thick rice noodles. Apart from these, you can also try Wan Tan Mee which is egg noodles cooked in a sauce with pork tenderloin with fresh vegetables, wontons and green chilies. Oh Chien is also one of the popular street foods that you can find here which is fried oysters mixed in a mixture of egg and starch. Here for our essential eating guide for Malaysian cuisine.

Singapore, Singapore

While Singapore might not be a big country it certainly packs a lot of options for food lovers. Here you can find foods that are inspired by neighbouring Southeast Asian cultures. If you are in Singapore you must try the most popular food here called Bak Kut Teh. This simple and humble dish has been popular in Singapore for many years and comes with pork rib meat served with herbs. Nasi Lemak is one dish that comes in multiple variations and therefore you can choose the best options you can find. Influenced by Hong Kong cuisine, Wanton Mee is an equally popular street food that you can get in Singapore. Nasi Biryani has a strong Indian cultural influence and you can get that with beef, chicken, mutton or fish options. Laksa is equally popular street food when you are roaming the streets of Singapore.

Hanoi, Vietnam

If you are strolling the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam you can find plenty of street food options that you can’t ignore. Being close to the Chinese border, Hanoi cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese culture. Bun Cha is among the most popular street food items that you can find. It consists of grilled pork stripes or balls served with steaming rice or vermicelli noodles. Nem Cua Be (Crab Spring Rolls) are fried rolls that you can eat with virtually any other food item. Considered to be one of the oldest street foods of Hanoi, Cha Ca is fish served with fresh herbs and vermicelli rice noodles.

Jakarta, Indonesia

When you are roaming the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia you can find a lot of street food influenced by Chinese, Indian and European countries. You can look for some options like Pisang Goreng Sambal Roa which is fried banana with Chilli. Otak Otak is another popular street food that looks like a tender fish brain cooked with spicy peanut sauce. Bakpao is also a popular dish in Indonesia which means meat dumplings or buns. Kerak Telor is another version of a spicy omelette made from a duck egg.

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