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

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zdiddynyc Dec 5, 2009 03:46 AM

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?

  1. el jefe Jan 15, 2010 12:55 AM

    I didn't realize that I had a favorite until last night.

    I spend half the year based in Chiang Mai where there are dozens of street stands and noodle shops serving wonderful food. It's really hard to choose a favorite. Last night I was running some errands and planned to picked up some marinated and grilled ribs from the vendor at the night market near Chiang Puak Gate.

    Unfortunately I crashed my motorcycle on the way there. Lots of road rash and I could barely stand on my right ankle. I was able to continue riding so when I got to the market I stopped anyway, hobbled over and bought a rack of ribs. Then I drove myself over to the hospital and ate them while waiting to be x-rayed.

    If you're heading east along the north side of the moat, the grilled rib vendor is just before the end at Chiang Puak Gate. It's an older couple running the stand. They do lots of other grilled meats besides the ribs. There are 20 stands in this market but they're the only ones doing grilled meats. 50 baht for 5-6 medium sized ribs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: el jefe
      missmasala Jan 18, 2010 07:32 PM

      Those ribs sound delicious. Chiang Mai does have some cheap and good food. Hope the crash didn't do any permanent damage.

      Though i would have to say, my favorite street stall is always the last good one I got something from. Though I spend quite a few months at a time in Bangkok, I don't think i've ever managed to even scratch the surface of the food stalls there, nor would I ever be able to. So I always assume there's an amazing stall out there i haven't hit up yet.

    2. haynes Jan 6, 2010 03:06 AM

      Current favorites.

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

      Bak Kut Teh: Jalan Macalister near Lorong Baru, Penang http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4225531472

      Hong Kee Clay Pot Chicken Rice: Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4204496141

      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 http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4208537066/in/set-72157622930985047/

      Lou Wong Bean Sprout Chicken: Ipoh http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/sets/72157622925522733/

      Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball: Melaka http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/sets/72157623028565912/

      Chee Chong Chook: New Lane (Lorong Baru) Penang http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4221622489

      Oyster Pancake: Gurney Hawker Center, Penang http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4215191936

      Char Siu: Yook Woo Hin, Jalan Petaling, KL http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4202835446

      Lechon Baboy: Salcedo Market, Makati (Manila) http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/4...
      (also sisig - especially a nice spicy sisig with a cold San Miguel.)

      7 Replies
      1. re: haynes
        klyeoh Jan 7, 2010 02:52 AM

        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
          haynes Jan 7, 2010 05:49 PM

          Thanks! We're having a blast trying to find the best street food wherever we visit. I've got pictures of Pho Hoa http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/sets/72157623033978965/ and Nhu Lan http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/s... 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
            klyeoh Jan 8, 2010 02:42 PM

            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
              debbieann Jan 10, 2010 08:09 PM

              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
                haynes Jan 12, 2010 10:00 PM

                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.

                http://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/s...

          2. re: klyeoh
            DaveCook Aug 17, 2010 09:08 PM

            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
              klyeoh Aug 17, 2010 10:42 PM

              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.

        2. anthonyrza Dec 15, 2009 08:21 AM

          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. pilinut Dec 5, 2009 08:22 PM

            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
              Sam Fujisaka Dec 6, 2009 03:14 AM

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

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                pilinut Dec 6, 2009 10:50 AM

                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
                  Sam Fujisaka Dec 7, 2009 05:23 AM

                  Toenails remain attached, but you eat around them.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                    pilinut Dec 7, 2009 01:31 PM

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

            2. Sam Fujisaka Dec 5, 2009 04:02 AM

              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. Ali B Dec 5, 2009 04:02 AM

                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.

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