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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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...
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!
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.