A foodie's guide to South East Asia on a budget
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A foodie's guide to South East Asia on a budget

  • Highlights

  • Pack your bags to get on a culinary adventure of a lifetime

  • Titillate your taste buds with some of the finest flavours of Asia

  • Here’s a guide to our favourite culinary melting pot

  • Finance your gastronomical vacation easily

If your holidays are planned around sampling the best food that holiday destinations offer, bookmark this guide. We tell you about three South East Asian destinations where you can find the best food.

South East Asia is a gastronomic paradise. Whether it’s a hit of spice, delectable desserts, earthy undertones, or sharp acidity balanced with rich umami flavour – South East Asians have mastered the art of delivering a flavourful punch. Street food, age-old restaurants, and swanky fine-dining establishments exist in harmony here, ensuring that each meal is a unique and memorable experience. If you’re planning a holiday to the region, make sure you add these three destinations to your itinerary for a trip to foodie heaven, without breaking the bank.

Singapore

1. Hawker centres are the best way to sample great Singaporean food, especially if you’re after Chicken Rice and Laksa—the two dishes everyone throngs to Singapore for.
2. Visit Tian Tina at Maxwell Hawker Centre, situated on the periphery of China Town, for the best Chicken Rice.This establishment is the favourite of food writer, chef, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain. This bowl of rice and chicken, packed with intense savoury and meaty flavour will cost you just Rs.200!

3. If you want something spicier, nothing but Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa’s laksa will do. It has a thick, creamy coconut curry that packs heat, along with silken noodles, fish cakes, shredded chicken, shrimp, and a heap of fresh coriander. If you’re caught in a Singaporean downpour, this claypot laksa is the best way to recharge. While they have several portion sizes, a small one costs only around Rs.200.

4. If you’ve been on the road for a while and are missing the taste of home, visit Azmi’s Chapatis. Each hot, soft chapati will cost you around Rs.45, while the 20 curries you can choose from range around Rs.250. To savour delicacies that are more authentic to Singapore, head to the Chinatown Complex, where you can take your pick from a host of stalls.

5. Travel and stay: A round trip ticket to Singapore, via Jet Airways will set you back Rs.19,000, while stay at Holiday Inn will cost you around Rs.12,000 per night.

Hanoi

1. This Vietnamese city has scores of delicious dishes to offer, with freshness of ingredients and their simplicity taking centre stage.

2. Start your day with a taste of egg coffee. Just like the name suggests, it is a mound of sweetened, whipped egg, piled on top of strong Vietnamese coffee. If we’re being honest, you can start your day and end it with an egg coffee, because of its dessert-like taste and texture. Priced at around Rs.90 a cup, there’s no need to curb your coffee cravings.

3. To visit Hanoi and not sample some pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) would be a real sin, which is why you must visit Pho Suong, Pho Thin, and Pho Bat Dan. A delectable combination of broth, noodles, sliced meat, and herbs – the complex flavours of pho truly titillate your taste buds. A bowl will set you back around Rs.200 only.

Additional Read: How To Find The Right Personal Loan for Travel For You

4. Other delectable Hanoi specialties include bun cha (pork over rice) and banh mi, a French-Vietnamese dish that’s perfect to munch on when you’re on the go. A warm baguette is layered with cold cuts, shredded pork, pâté, crunchy vegetables, fresh coriander, and sauces to create a mouth-watering sandwich that’s unlike any you’ve tasted before. Depending on where you purchase your banh mi from, this sandwich will cost you around Rs.100.

5. Once you get your fill of the staples, sign up for a food tour. A good street food tour will cost you around Rs.5,000, but will introduce you to lesser-known (but equally delicious) dishes along with a visit to the local market and sometimes, even a cooking demo.

6. Travel and stay: A round trip ticket to Hanoi, via Singapore Airlines will set you back Rs.27,000 while stay at The Chi Hotel will cost you around Rs.7,000 per night, including a car rental.

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Bangkok

1. Eating in Bangkok isn’t restricted to traditional Thai food. Whether it’s a burger you’re craving or some pancakes, Bangkok is sure to cater to every food craving.

2. For a taste of authentic pad thai, head straight to Thip Samai. Cooked over charcoal, these noodles are spicy, zingy, and have a smoky taste. The paper-thin omelette and sliced red chillies are the best thing about this dish. A portion of pad thai will cost you just Rs.200.

3. For a refreshing bubble tea or pearl tea, stop by at one of the many chains that dot the city, or look for street vendors dishing out this delicious drink from carts. A drink will cost you a maximum of Rs.40, which is an absolute bargain. Milky iced tea with chewy tapioca ‘pearls’ is the perfect way to cool off, after a day of walking through bustling Bangkok markets. However, if you’re looking for the prettiest bubble tea of them all, visit ATM Tea Bar. Their bubble teas are a work of art. Compared to other bubble teas, they cost a steep Rs.300 but it’s still quite affordable.

4. When you’re in the mood to sample several Thai dishes in one go, head to one of the many food courts, such as the one at MBK shopping mall. Here, you can try everything from satay to chicken and coconut soup, and delicious Thai desserts. Even if you over-order, a meal for two is unlikely to exceed Rs.1,000.

5. Travel and stay: A round trip ticket to Bangkok, via Jet Airways will set you back Rs.16,000, while stay at Holiday Inn will cost you around Rs.7,083 per night.

It’s evident that foodies can have the time of their life at one or all of these South East Asian destinations, without squandering away their savings. But, if you feel like you’ll be able to make your holiday all the more enjoyable with a little financing, apply for a personal loan for travel. It’s easy to get and cost-effective too!

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