Asian Foodie Capitals

There are many reasons to visit various enticing destinations in Asia, but one that keeps growing in importance is the wealth of stunning regional cuisines. From country to country, city to city, Asia represents an explosion of flavors as diverse as they are enchanting. We present you five cities in Asia which every self respecting foodie should visit at least once in a lifetime. Singapore, Singapore With a number of Singaporean restaurants regularly finding their way to the annual list of 50 best restaurants in Asia, it is clear that Singapore has plenty to offer to a gourmet-minded traveler. With an array of culinary influences ranging from Indian to Western to Chinese, Singapore’s cuisine is an interesting fusion of flavors updated daily by innovative chefs who keep adding new touches to the ever changing formula.

While traditional Singaporean dishes like prawn noodle soup are still a popular choice and can still be found on restaurant menus, Singapore is better known for a mighty fine selection of restaurants catering to the lovers of various global cuisines, so you will have no problems finding a five star French restaurant, an innovative concept restaurant, or a modern Japanese eating house. This “melting pot” character of Singapore’s scene is arguably its biggest quality, and spending a few days there will have your stomach both disoriented and delighted.

Penang, Malaysia You won’t find a single Malaysian restaurant on the aforementioned top 50 list, but what you will find is a nirvana of hawker foods. While Kuala Lumpur is a modern capital with a fusion feel to its restaurant scene, and Malacca a window to the days past, Penang is all about street vendors creating cheap dishes that will have your palates singing songs of praise for days after.

Clustered in numerous markets, hawker stands offer Malaysian, Indian and Chinese dishes, reflecting the multicultural nature of the region. Local guidance can help you choose the finest out of hundreds and hundreds of hawkers, but even random quests will certainly yield fruitful results.

Hanoi, Vietnam Much like Malaysia, Vietnam is better known for street foods than for high class dining. However, Vietnam has a distinct culinary identity with traditional dishes very much alive. Vietnam is a foodie nation - with half the country working in agriculture and food industry - and it is visible on every step.

You can forget about all conventional western ideas of a dining experience with tastefully decorated tables and kitchens hidden away behind closed doors - it’s all out there, with cooks rubbing shoulders with swarms of customers eating on foot or sitting on their motorcycles. It is a place where divine meets the everyday, with mind blowing dishes served on paper plates and devoured on the go. Vietnamese cuisine is like a fresher, healthier distant cousin to Indian or Chinese, with sparse arrangements concealing a surprising nuance and subtlety of flavors. Chengdu, China The first Asian city to receive a prestigious City of Gastronomy designation from UNESCO (2010), Chengdu, located in China’s Sichuan province, is arguably the most food obsessed city in the world. With over 40,000 restaurants and tea houses, Chengdu is the city with the highest density of eateries in the world.

Even though Sichuan is globally synonymous with “hot and spicy”, the city of Chengdu conceals a surprising diversity of flavors - from palate scalding to gentle and moderate. The golden age of street vendors has passed, with most businesses moving to small indoors establishments, but you will still stumble upon occasional street vendors offering delicious snacks such as flower bean curd. With so many restaurants in Chengdu, everyone is racing to come up with a new gimmick to draw customers and the cuisine keeps reinventing itself, but Sichuanese have a proud culinary tradition and many cooking schools focusing on said tradition and authentic local ingredients. Bangkok, Thailand To round off this culinary vacation made in heaven, we are focusing on a place known as the “Sin City of Asia”. It is true that Bangkok is better known for some other of its attractions, but the food scene is anything but subpar. Thai cuisine represents a perfect blend of original seafood traditions mixed with influences from the neighboring China and Vietnam, with a touch of western and Islamic traditions thrown in for a good measure. The smells of onions, pepper, sugar and frying oil permeate the streets, making your mouth water and drawing you to the nearest vendor stand.

Street food is diverse, delicious, and affordable, but if you’re looking for high class dining, you’re at the right place as well. Bangkok’s restaurants occupy six spots on the Top 50 Asia list, including the number one spot occupied by Nahm, run by Australian expat chef David Thompson who dug deep into centuries old Thai cookbooks to unearth authentic traditional recipes. Good luck getting a table, though.  

Tags : Vietnam Destinations, Vietnam Tours, Indochina Attraction

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