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Southeast Asia Road Trip

Next month I'm embarking on a six-week trip that will take in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam; Luang Prabang and Vientiene, Laos; Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia; Bangkok, Thailand; Georgetown (Penang) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore. I'm particularly interested in tips regarding outdoor markets and hawker stalls, and especially in details that I'm unlikely to find through the likes of Lonely Planet, but all suggestions are very welcome.


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  1. In Bangkok, Convent Road is a great spot to sample some of the city's best carts.
    Weekdays, the street turns into a foodcourt catering to Bangkok's financial workers.

    Convent Road: http://cheapeatsbangkok.com/convent.php

    1. The food court at MBK (a shopping mall) in Bangkok is worth a visit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: saeyedoc

        So is the fruit and veg market across from chatachuk. It has prepared foods as well as fruit and veg.
        Incidentally, the restaurant in chatachuk itself serves a great version of tom yum soup with fresh young coconut.

      2. For markets in Penang, have a look at the Pulau Tikus (Rat Island) and Balik Pulau (back of the Island) markets. For guides to Penang hawker food, have a look at http://www.rasamalaysia.com/2006/10/i... and http://www.rasarasa.net/section.cfm?i... (this also has a fairly extensive listing for Kuala Lumpur - have a look at the "Cari Makan" link).

        For a good round up on markets around the region and salivatingly good pictures, have a look at Robyn's market section at http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatinga.... For markets in KL, beside Pudu and Chow Kit amrkets mentioned in Eating Asia, the Madras Lane (just behind Petaling Street in Chinatown) and Imbi / Bukit Bintang markets are also easily accessible. Don't forget to check out Robyn's posts for food around KL as well - http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatinga...

        1. In Luang Prabang there are night food markets with heaps of weird and wonderful things to try - they're just near the craft markets in the centre of town. Impossible to miss.

          I recommend Tamarind (www.tamarindlaos.com) they offer lots of really interesting inexpensive dishes and are happy to explain as you go. We tried jujube-fruit drinks and stuffed lemongrass and the next day tried an Adventurous Gourmet platter.

          Luang Prabang also has quite a few high-end places worth visiting, but these may not be your style(?). I hope you have a fantastic trip!

          1 Reply
          1. re: jezebeljoygirl

            be sure to try the spring rolls and summer rolls at the luang prabang night market. they are great and come with an amazing sauce. also, the grilled fish that you will see everyone cooking in the food street (all the prepared food/restaurant place are mostly down a side street) is incredible.

            is tamarind the place owned by the australian woman across from the big wat? if so, i second the rec. it's a great place to try things out as it's all explained. Also, they have some nice and unusual things.

            if you are coming from thailand, try to have croissants at one of the french cafes. I can't remember the name of the one we went to, but the baguettes and croissants were great.

          2. Traditional laab and khao niew type meals in Laos (and NE Thailand) are unbeatable and cheap. I'll be in Vientiane late next week for more than a week. Maybe check back.

            1. In Bangkok, I like Ana's Garden on Thong Lor around soi 3. You can walk there from the BTS. It's a beautiful little place with delicious food. Thong Lor is Bangkok's yuppie boulevard, but can be refreshing when you've had enough of the hustle and bustle.

              Also great is Monkey Shock -- I went there fairly regularly while living in Bangkok. It's on Chongnonsri but might be tough for the cab driver to find unless you have an address.

              Plenty of great seafood restaurants on the Chao Phraya. There's one place called Ban Glang Nam that has some delicious oysters and ostrich with black pepper. It too might be hard to find without a translator.

              1. I'm in the Cathay Pacific lounge in the Bangkok airport. Just got in from Vientiane a couple of hours ago. Still like the food from the Morning Market. Have a bag here with sticky rice, laab, and sausages.

                1. There's info on most of those places if you search my blog. In particular, I was in Penang and posted some pics and info here: http://realthai.blogspot.com/2006/10/..., and the blog Rasa Malaysia (http://www.rasamalaysia.com/) is an awesome source of info. I was also recently in Hanoi, and posted some pics here: http://realthai.blogspot.com/2006/07/... , and you should definately visit StickyRice (http://stickyrice.typepad.com/my_weblog/), a great Hanoi-based blog.


                  1. In Hanoi, I've had some good food at Emperor Restaurant, 18b Le Thanh Tong St in the Hoan Kiem district. They make a great grilled lemongrass chicken and the atmosphere is very nice.

                    1. You can see pictures of two dozen notable noshes from my Southeast Asia trip on EatingInTranslation.com. Click through to my Flickr collection and you can take a look at 1,500 more photos, though to be sure, many were taken between meals, and some have no connection with chow whatsoever.

                      Thanks, everyone, for your advice!