Take your taste buds on a journey to South East Asia

South East Asian food

From the sizzling hawker stalls of Penang to Michelin-starred dining in Bangkok, the cities of South East Asia are a sensory experience that will satisfy even the most demanding of foodies. Dishes range from the weird and wonderful – snake, crickets and locusts – to fragrant, delicately spiced rice and fiery curries. Let us help you with your menu choice, with our #IPtips on the best foodie offerings in the region.

Vietnam food tourJump on a Vespa in Vietnam
Hoi An – a melting pot of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and French Colonial influences on the South China Sea – is one of Asia’s most evocative cities thanks to its jaw-dropping Old Town, cut through with canals. Hook up with local celebrity chef Duc Tran for a walking tour around the vibrant markets before a private cooking class in his Mango Mango restaurant. For dessert, hop on a Vespa and head into the surrounding countryside for a foodie tour like no other. Pass through rice paddies, meet local artisan producers and visit local farms before heading back to town. See all our tours of Vietnam >

#IPtips While in Hoi An, be sure to try Tam Tam Café. Housed in a French Colonial building and a block from the Thu Bồn River, it’s a great spot for cheap eats and hot dancing.

Myanmar, the nuns of SagaingTake lunch with the nuns of Sagaing
Myanmar (Burma) is thought to be the most religious Buddhist country in the world and images of local monks, wrapped in their distinctive scarlet robes, have graced the pages of many a travel magazine. Gain a different insight into temple life by visiting a monastery in Sagaing, home to pink-clad nuns, many of whom were orphans and joined the monastery to find a better life. The simple, yet tasty, vegetarian meals offered not only provide an understanding of how they live, but also help with much-needed funds for the monastery’s upkeep. Discover our tours of Myanmar >

#IPtips If you’re visiting Myanmar, head to Yangon’s frenetic Bogyoke market to try some traditional Burmese street food.

Bangkok fish marketPrepare a Bangkok banquet
Bangkok is quickly becoming the foodie capital of South East Asia thanks to its fabulous array of street food stalls, bustling markets and high-end eateries. Get under the skin of the city with an early start to visit the Pak Nam Seafood Market to pick out the freshest catch of the day, before heading to the lesser-known Don Wai market for more shopping and a riverside meal at a temple restaurant. If you want to learn from the best, the Blue Elephant is the city’s most famous restaurant. Learn how to cook a personalised meal with their sought-after chefs before getting the chance to sample it as the pros intended. See all our tours of Thailand >

#IPtips Beyond Bangkok, check out Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival held over nine days at the end of October. As well as incredible food, there’s a stunning parade where some participants take to piercing their bodies with knives and skewers in honour of the gods.

Cambodia, Ox cart rideLearn to cook Cambodian-style in a rural village
Angkor Thom, on the banks of the Siem Reap River, was the last and most enduring of the Khmer capitals. Marvel at its architectural majesty before visiting a local village that offers a special community initiative. Your tour begins with an ox-and-cart ride in the surrounding area before a cooking class and dinner as your role as guest of honour in the communality. Round off the day with cocktails and a sunset cruise around the vast moat of Angkor Thom. Discover our tours of Cambodia >

#IPtips Spend a few days in Sihanoukville – home to white-sand beaches, gin-blue seas and some of the best seafood in the region.

Malaysian street foodKL: The street food city
Kuala Lumpur is a glistening, fast-paced modern city packed with skyscrapers… until you head to Jalan Alor. Once a run-down, red-light district, it’s now lined with hawker stalls and comes to life in the evening as the place to go in the city for tasty street food mixing Chinese, Indian and Malaysian influences. You can eat as you walk or sit down on one of the many plastic tables and chairs. Technically they belong to particular eateries but spill out into one colossal outdoor eating space. An energetic and chaotic experience you won’t want to miss. See all our tours of Malaysia >

#IPtips Learn how to cook Malay style at La Zat cooking school – a charming old Malaysian house set in the jungle. Enjoy a small breakfast of traditional roti and tea before the highly-praised course which will teach you everything from blending your own herbs and spices to how to extract your own coconut milk.
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