If you are a travel and food lover, then don’t miss the chance for a Southeast Asian culinary adventure. Most visitors have agreed that the area is one of the most fascinating culinary destinations in the world. No matter which country you go to, you will find an amazing variety of flavors and styles of each dish. We’ve put together a list of the best food experiences to include on your Southeast Asia food tour. Discover now!
What is a Food Tour?
Explore Southeast Asia food tour
Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, Singapore
Step into the Old Airport Road Hawker Center in Singapore, which serves up some of the country’s most iconic street food. The food here is very clean, and hygienic and still exudes an undeniable authenticity passed down by generations of Singaporean food vendors. Singapore has successfully experimented with taming street food vendors by cornering them in hawker centers- it has developed a whole new food culture in the process. The hawker centers are now the island’s biggest tourist attraction. Singapore’s influences of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western cuisines are now the main attractions for tourists.
Ha Noi- The Capital of VietNam
The Southeast Asia food tour will not be complete without going to Ha Noi, Vietnam. Hanoi’s capital is a major culinary center of Vietnam. This place has traditional dishes passed down through generations but still retains the most quintessential features. Not only is it one of the best destinations in the area for street food and markets, but it’s also a hotspot for chic modern eateries, cocktails and specialty cafes.
Australian food blogger Mark Lowerson has called it an “assault on the senses… face-to-face experience, with markets, eateries and street vendors that are readily apparent from the moment you step down the city.” The foods with the most unique flavors include Nem (spring rolls), Pho (Noodles), Coffee (coffee), Bun Cha, Banh Mi…
Jimbaran Fish Market- Bali
Everyone knows that Jimbaran, just north of Uluwatu, is home to the best seafood in Bali. If you want a delicious seafood dinner, head to the Jimbaran seafood restaurants set up on Jimbaran Bay beach every night. But for an authentic dining experience, head to Jimbaran Fish Market.
Here, you will find hundreds of stalls selling fresh seafood right on the boat. You can touch, smell, check, haggle, pick and mix as you like. Once you’ve chosen and paid for your seafood, head out into the narrow lanes with small kitchens where dinner is cooked for you. Just let the kitchen know how you’d normally like the seafood (grilled, fried, steamed, curry, etc.), and you can also order side dishes like rice or vegetables. Ordering a couple of cold Bintang beers and enjoying dinner together, there’s nothing better than that, right?
Bangkok- The capital of Thailand
Referring to the Southeast Asia food tour, it is impossible to ignore beautiful Thailand. Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, is a major culinary contender in the world with its small streets teeming with street vendors. Bangkok’s never-sleeping street food scene: start with Yaowarat Road in Bangkok’s Chinatown, where street food gurus like Siang Ki serve up Thai-Chinese fish porridge called Khao Tom Pla: steamed rice soaked in fish broth and garnished with fish, pickled vegetables and fried garlic.
The hallmarks of Bangkok’s street food scene are increasingly evident from seafood stalls selling fresh oysters and crab sautéed with curry powder to kiosks selling Chinese roasted chestnuts. Another street food stop, Sukhumvit Road, caters to Thai food fans until early morning. Don’t miss the mango sticky rice, the king of Thai desserts, which is sold in abundance at this location.
George Town city- Malaysia
The city of George Town, Penang of Malaysia has long been a dream destination for foodies thanks to its mixed Malay/Chinese/Indian culture. Here, the Chinese, the Indians, the Malays and all other races have chosen to live in harmony, and you can see the influence of the food culture on each other.” It is renowned for its specialty foods, including Indian-influenced mee Goreng and nasi kandar (curry rice), as well as Kopitiam (coffee shops) like Lam Ah and Seng Lee Café. Lam Ah is famous for its orh chien, or crispy oyster omelette (fried noodles).
Special Foods in Cambodia & Laos
Thailand and Vietnam may dominate Southeast Asia’s street food scene, but that doesn’t mean the less-visited countries have nothing to offer. On the streets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia, you can enjoy lok lak, which are pieces of beef served with tomato salad, lettuce, raw cucumbers and onions, or fried shallots, made from flour chopped rice and chives. If you want something a little more Western-style, try bobor, chicken rice porridge served for breakfast, or fish amok, a fish roll that is steamed in banana leaves until it’s almost luscious.
The consistency of the mousse, when touched, will break. Try khao tom, which is steamed sticky rice, black beans, and fresh coconut cream wrapped in a banana leaf, or kaipen, which is made of dried, flattened, fried, and topped with vegetables or sesame seeds, algae from the Mekong River. You can find these dishes at most stalls in Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
If you are going on a Southeast Asia food tour, it is essential that you try street foods to enjoy their rich flavors. You won’t find more authentic flavors or reasonable prices anywhere else. While you may have doubts about the cleanliness of the stalls or the authenticity of what is commonly considered fast food in North America, rest assured, street food is safe and authentic. For peace of mind, choose stalls that are popular with locals.