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Dec 5, 2009 03:46 AM

Current favority hawker center/street vendor/restaurant dishes in Southeast Asia

It seems like there have been a lot of country specific posts recently. So in the interest of getting a long comprehensive post going, what is your current favorite food item anywhere in Southeast Asia?

To kick it off, mine is the Curry Crab at Baan Klang Naam in Bangkok, followed in a close second by the Beef Rendang at Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang in my adopted hometown of Singapore...what is your favorite?

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  1. I have recently become obsessed with rice porridge in Singapore... the one that is filled with pickled cabbage, crispy garlic, and a raw cracked egg on the top... the one I love is in Amoy Street Food Centre on 1st level, and there is an old man who takes your order (I think it's called "FAMOUS PORRIDGE"... when you order your porridge (fish, chicken or pork) he asks matter-of-factly "egg, no-egg?" SO delicious. I like the chicken, but my husband likes the pork... the pork is definitely more flavorful, but they put some innards in there, so don't get it if you're afraid of innards. There is one in Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown that is slightly better, but the queue at Amoy is so much shorter that I never go to the Maxwell one. A wonderful breakfast or lunch... I don't think it's open for dinner.

    1. 1. Laab & khao niyao anywhere on the steet or in markets in Lao and NE Thai.

      2. Pho in its various forms throughout Vietnam - for breakfast and on the sidewalk.

      3. BBQ chicken feet and balut brought around by vendors when having evening beers in the Philippines.

      4. BBQ chicken & green papaya salad & khao niyao sold along the highways in NE Thai.

      5. Bulalo in the highway stands in Batangas, Philippines

      6. Grilled fish on a stick everywere

      7. Rolled (to soften) tire-patch squid from the carts in Lao & NE Thai

      8. Banh mi from the glass box stands waiting for ferries in the Mekong Delta

      More later

      1. In no particular order:

        1. Pad Khee Mao at Ran Jay Fai (sp?) in Bangkok
        2. Satay with the works (cucumbers and ketupat, and lots od sauce) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
        3. Orange-colored flower-shaped fried cookies from the Pasar Malam in BSB, Brunei (If anyone knows the name of these cookies, I'd appreciate the info!)
        4. Taho (tofu fa) from the street vendors in Manila
        5. Chicken inasal from Tatoy's in Iloilo, Philippines
        6. Assorted Kakanin (rice cakes, e.g., Puto Binan, kalamay, sapin-sapin, etc.) from select vendors in Laguna, Phliippines
        7. Roti Canai, in Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia
        8. Chicharon from Carcar, Cebu
        9. Grilled chicken wings from the Makansutra hawker center in Singapore
        10. Most of the rice cakes, esp. the kueh lapis, and cookies at Bengawan Solo in Singapore

        I've never tried grilled chicken feet in the Philippines. They look really tough.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pilinut

          BBQ chicken feet in the Philippines - tender, sauce laden, pinaka masarap talaga.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Sorry to have to ask, but I can't remember--were the toenails still on? Because if they are, not even your endorsement "pinakamasarap talaga" (really the most delicious thing) is going to get me to reconsider.

            1. re: pilinut

              Toenails remain attached, but you eat around them.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Thanks, Sam--I think. The adobong camaru (crickets) and betute (sausage-stuffed frogs) are a lot easier to swallow.

        2. Sate Kambing (goat satay) with cubes of goat fat sold from a streetside bbq - Bali, INDONESIA

          Char Kway Teow, Roti Canai - Penang, MALAYSIA. Everything is insanely delicious here.

          Pork Sisig - Chopped pork cheeks and ears mixed with onions then scorched on a cast iron plate until crispy. PHILIPPINES

          Khao Soi - Northern THAILAND spicy chicken soup for about 70 cents.

          Com Suon Nuong - Charcoal grilled caramelized pork chops served with a fried egg, rice and nuoc mam (fish sauce). Amazing. VIETNAM.

          Hen Xao Suc Banh Da - Stir-fried spicy baby mussels with lemongrass and peanuts. Eat with toasted rice crackers. VIETNAM.

          1. Current favorites.

            Char Kuey Teow: Outram Park Fried Kway Teow, Singapore [gone?]

            Bak Kut Teh: Jalan Macalister near Lorong Baru, Penang

            Hong Kee Clay Pot Chicken Rice: Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur

            Pho Bac Diet: Pho Hoa 260C Pasteur, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon


            Ban My Thit: Nhu Lan on Ham Ngni HCMC

            Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken: Ipoh

            Lou Wong Bean Sprout Chicken: Ipoh

            Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball: Melaka

            Chee Chong Chook: New Lane (Lorong Baru) Penang

            Oyster Pancake: Gurney Hawker Center, Penang

            Char Siu: Yook Woo Hin, Jalan Petaling, KL

            Lechon Baboy: Salcedo Market, Makati (Manila)
            (also sisig - especially a nice spicy sisig with a cold San Miguel.)

            7 Replies
            1. re: haynes

              Great pics! I read somewhere that Outram Park char koay teow is now at Hong Lim Food Centre (near Chinatown Point), but haven't checked out the new location myself.

              1. re: klyeoh

                Thanks! We're having a blast trying to find the best street food wherever we visit. I've got pictures of Pho Hoa and Nhu Lan now.

                We're in Hanoi, comparing the phở here (where it originated) with the phở in Saigon. So far I prefer Saigon style, but we haven't really finished plumbing the extent of Hanoi phở yet. :) Have been enjoying the bánh cuốn here, it reminds me a lot of chee chong fun, but haven't found one I'd call a "favorite".

                1. re: haynes

                  IMHO, Hanoi's pho seemed more rustic/robust compared to Saigon's. The latter have subtler flavors. But you MUSN'T miss bun cha whilst in Hanoi. Those little patties of grilled meat patties & their meat juices dripping onto the noodles - simply unforgettable!

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Luckily haynes and I did not miss bun cha in Hanoi - we saw it and stopped even though we had eaten recently, because it seems to appear only at certain times of the day, lunchtime.

                    Now we are in Hue and I have a new favorite must have dish - com hen. omg, GREAT.

                    1. re: debbieann

                      I now have another favorite hawker/street food dish. "Com Hen" in Hue. Tiny river mussels (hen) prepared with cooked rice (com) but "clam rice" doesn't come close to doing it justice. Over 15 different ingredients, a complex blend of different textures: smooth, soft, crunchy, slippery and the flavors! Pungent, hot, savory, aromatic, salty, tart, sweet, nutty. We loved it so much the first time we had to try it again to be sure, and now I'm sure.

                      If you go to Hue, you must try com hen. Some locals may try to convince you that foreigners cannot eat com hen without getting an upset stomach. Do not believe them.

                      We had it at Quan Ba Hoa, 11a Truong Dinh.


                2. re: klyeoh

                  You're right; in fact, my 2005 Makansutra lists the Hong Lim address, and I'm pretty sure that's when I stopped by for char kway teow, black, spicy. Looking forward to another, later this month!

                  1. re: DaveCook

                    BTW, Hong Lim Food Centre is currently under renovation. All the hawkers are now operating at the temporary food center at Hong Lim Park (5 minutes from its old location). The good news is, the Outram Park char koay teow chap is also cooking there - I just lunched there last Friday - and the temporary premises are actually cleaner & airier than the dark/dank old Hong Lim building.