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Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Indonesia

Best Cities for Eating and Drinking in SE Asia?

What are the best cities for eating and drinking in Southeast Asia? We love great cocktail bars and wine bars or places to just hang out and drink and people watch all day. For food a good mix of simple street food and some refined dining. I know Singapore is amazing, but besides that I am not entirely sure what the culinary and drinking centers of Southeast Asia really are and your thoughts are greatly welcomed.

12 Answers

top answer by
Alex from Ranau

Singapore is fantastic, though one of the priciest cities around Southeast Asia. Bangkok and Chiang Mai are unbeatable, with some of the best street food in the world, as well as fine dining. Penang in Malaysia. Hanoi or Saigon in Vietnam, though I think I found my best food in Vietnam in Hoi An. Hong Kong, if you want to stretch the Southeast Asia boundaries a bit. Luang Prabang has great street food and fine dining, and is a beautiful small city. Phnom Penh has great food at every level, and an interesting, lively drinking scene. I was quite happy with everything I found in Ubud in Bali. 

There aren't many cities in Southeast Asia you would go wrong with. This part of the world is unrivaled in exciting food. That said, good wine bars can be hard to find outside of the largest cities. Cocktail bars are starting to pop up in the places with large expat populations. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Bangkok (city)
  3. Chiang Mai (city)
  4. Penang (city)
  5. Hanoi (city)
  6. Hong Kong (city)
  7. Luang Prabang (city)
  8. Ubud (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Quinn from Hanoi

My best suggestion would be Vietnam especially Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City where you can find so many interesting foods and drinks for very cheap price.

Vietnamese cuisine and living culture and very dynamic, colorful but pretty balance in the taste :

- If you a sweet tooth person: try thing in Hochiminh city ( Saigon) ( By Bun Bo Nam Bo or Hu Tieu Sai Gon)

- More spicy Hue-  Hoi An ( Try Bun Bo Hue )

- Balance in between: not so hot not so sweet not so dry - Hanoi  ( Try Pho , Banh My, Banh Quan, Pho Cuon and Bun Cha )

Check out this site for more stuff about Vietnamese cuisine:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vietnam (country)
  2. Hanoi (city)
  3. Hoi An (city)
  4. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Duyen from Hội An

To me, it's city in Viet Nam.

Ho Chi Minh City

Lots of amazing things to eat in Sai Gon. It's hardly to choose the best one.

Vietnamese broken rice (Cơm tấm) is ranked first of the list. I've lived in Ho Chi Minh for 2 years, I saw a lot of local people have this dish every day. The beautiful combination of rice and pork is truly a beautiful treat for me.

Secondly, Rice Paper Salad (Bánh tráng trộn) - a familiar snack for youngsters in Ho Chi Minh. It can be sold near schools where students come and eat Banh tranh tron after their school.

Lastly, Snails which are made in different ways is the most common food in Sai Gon, especially at night. There is a chain of restaurants selling snails in Nguyen Trai street.

Other top things to eat in Ho Chi minh and where to eat, check here.

If you visit Hue, you can both explore the history of Viet Nam in Nguyen Dynasty and have beach dreams with Lang Co Beach beach which is about 15 km away from the Hue Center.

Or you can also get to Da Nang that has several beaches as Phạm Văn Đồng  beach. Then, head to Hoi An and enjoy a romantic view in the old quarter.

This is my itinerary in Hoi An and Da Nang, you can give it a view:

3 days in Da Nang

4 days in Hoi An

Good luck and have a nice trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  2. Hue (city)
  3. Lang Co Beach (attraction)
  4. Da Nang (city)
  5. Phạm Văn Đồng (attraction)
  6. Hoi An (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Kenn from Bayside

In addition to the wonderful suggestions regarding Vietnam and the exciting street food in Singapore, don't overlook Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with its street food, Peranakan and Hokkien cuisines. My husband and I spent last February and March in these venues as well as in Thailand and Myanmar where the food was also tantalizing.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Kuala Lumpur (city)
  3. Thailand (country)
  4. Myanmar (country)
1 thanks

answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

I loved vietnamese food, you can eat really well and very cheap nearly everywhere, but especially in Hoi An there are lots of places to eat, drink and enjoy wonderful desserts. 

Food in Siem Reap and Chiang Mai was really good too. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hoi An (city)
  2. Siem Reap (city)
  3. Chiang Mai (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Aran from Kuala Belait

Kuala Lumpur, being geographically central in South East Asia, has a rich mix of street food of the region. There's a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian food and often Thai and Indonesian influenced street food. Being the biggest city in Malaysia, a fair amount of higher end restaurants are available as well. Penang has far better street food than KL, but may not have as much options for international cuisine (though not lacking). However, alcohol isn't the cheapest in both these places although there is a rich nightlife. 

In Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City alcohol is significantly cheaper, and both national cuisines are delicious in their own right but lesser of that mix you get in Malaysia. Bangkok in particular has amazing restaurants and you'd be able to find anything to your taste if you look beyond street food. In HCMC you can sit at Parisian style cafes, drink Beer Hoa or sip tea/coffee and people watch. 

Food on the whole is glorious in South East Asia, and cheap. Each place has it's own charm. If you were just choosing one place, I'd say go to Bangkok. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kuala Lumpur (city)
  2. Penang (city)
  3. Bangkok (city)
  4. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
1 thanks

answered by
nathan from West Fargo

Bangkok is definitely where it is at! You can find anything from a heaping bowl full of sautéed clams and seafood at a sidewalk stand complete with 4 large Singha beers for about $10 total all the way up to a 7 course meal on top of a high rise hotel such as the Banyan Tree Bangkok costing $100+. I agree with Jacey & Scott also that Hanoi has some incredible street side options, but for me there is no better than Bangkok. So many fresh juices, fruit, fish balls, and exotic items that you can easily spend all day long eating. Try out the Chatuchak Weekend Market which is teeming with low cost dining options and great people watching. The market itself will blow you away by the sheer size of it...the food is just a bonus! Keep in mind that Thai people love to cook with spicy food so be prepared!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bangkok (city)
  2. Chatuchak Weekend Market (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hi Jeff-The street food in Vietnam is amazing-especially in Hanoi, and there are plenty of lovely dining establishments as well to sit and enjoy.  Also in Vietnam, we really enjoyed our time wandering, watching, dining and drinking in Hoi An.  The people are so very friendly here, and the best banh mi sandwich exists here at Bánh Mỳ Phượng-you will end up going back multiple times.

Siem Reap has a very fun and lively area in the city center called Pub St.  Perfect for great meals, cheap drinks, excellent people watching and convenient bar hopping.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanoi (city)
  2. Hoi An (city)
  3. Bánh Mỳ Phượng (restaurant)
  4. Siem Reap (city)
  5. Pub St (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

Hue is the best choice. hue food tour

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hue (city)

answered by
Diep from Thuy Anh, Thái Bình, Vietnam

You can visit District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City  where you can enjoy a lot of street foods and night activities. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. District 1 (metro area)
  2. Ho Chi Minh City (city)

answered by
Jörgen from Vaggeryd

Hi. For the best definitely Vietnam. Hanoi or Saigon. So many places and variety. Cheap stands in the street with the locals or posh restaurant with dressed up staff. The food is excellent.

answered by
Radhina from Dubai

Singapore would still get my vote just for the range and quality of dining options on offer. Here are a few of my favourites

After that, probably Bangkok for its amazing street food. I ate these oyster omelettes almost 3 years ago and thinking about them still makes my mouth water

I also thought Hoi Anwas pretty special, especially considering that Vietnam as a whole had some fantastic food on offer. Remember a spot called Cafe 69 that had amazing bahn mi filled with ham and pickled vegetables and also tried out a cooking class while I was in the city which was a great way to spend an afternoon

Bar street in Siem Reap has some amazing little spots full of character that would also feature on my list of favourite dining destinations in SE Asia

Bon appetit!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Bangkok (city)
  3. Hoi An (city)
  4. Siem Reap (city)

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