Experience the flavours of Southeast Asia
One of the best ways to explore the diversity and the traditions of another country is enjoying a delicious meal with locals. Southeast Asian food culture is particularly lively, communal, and rewards those who are willing to take risks with new dishes. At the heart of Southeast Asia’s culinary scene are bustling markets teeming with locals and travellers alike savouring traditional delicacies.
ISIC has partnered up with Withlocals for some unique foodie experiences! Discover the best bites in town, while browsing the must-see local markets and streets, and save 10% with ISIC!
Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This must be the best loved Malay dish of all time. Traditionally served for breakfast, nowadays it is available at any time of the day. It is rice literally soaked in coconut cream and then wrapped in a banana leaf or served on a plate and eaten with side dishes. Depending on where you are in Malaysia, it comes with a variety of accompaniments such as hard-boiled eggs, toasted peanuts, pickled vegetables, slices or chunks of cucumber, lamb, chicken or beef curry, seafood and sambal (chili-based sauce).
You haven’t truly experienced Malaysian food until you thrill your taste buds with this sweet treat.
Constantly being reinvented, Apom Balik is a pancake-style snack wedded with the compact package of an omelet and stuffed with a generous amount of sugar, peanuts and a sprinkle of corn.
Dim Sum in Singapore
Anytime is dim sum time! Originally from the southern part of China, these bite-sized pieces of seafood or meat, steamed to perfection and wrapped into a thin, delicate skin have always been a traditional comfort food in Singapore. The ritual of dim sum has seen some changes over the years: what used to be a typical snack to go with morning tea gatherings, has become a popular meal for lunch and dinner as well.
Brought to Singapore by generations of migrants, Indian cuisine has evolved to suit local palates. Literally meaning “eclectic mix”, Rojak sure lives up to its name. It consists of fritters, batter-coated prawns, potato cutlets, squid, tofu and fishcake, with a wonderful dip of mashed sweet potatoes and chili.
Rice Bowl Cake in Taipei, Taiwan
Technically not a Southeast Asia’s dish, this pudding-like delicacy deserves a mention because it is a savory treat in its own right: rice and corn flour mixed together and heated gently until becoming a paste, which is then layered with some Taiwanese favourites – from chopped preserved radishes, garlic and diced carrots to minced pork or Chinese mushrooms. These ingredients are then steamed so that they set into the cake better, and then flipped upside down from their bowls, so they come out rounded and perfectly shaped.
Red Bean Cake
Also known as “wheel cake”, this popular Taiwanese dessert is made of a waffle-style batter, filled with a traditional sweetened red bean paste and then poured into a round-shaped mold each side. Enjoy!
Moo Ping in Bangkok, Thailand
Walking down the streets of Bangkok and need a little snack – Moo Ping will come to the rescue! Probably one of the best on-the-go street food in Thailand, this grilled pork on a skewer is marinated in pounded coriander root, pepper and garlic together, and is then grilled over a charcoal BBQ. It often comes with a bag of sticky rice.
The classic among the classics! Everyone knows pad Thai, Thailand’s famous stir-fried noodle dish with shrimp, tofu and a hint of tamarind, accompanied by various condiments such as fish sauce, sugar, chili powder and finely ground peanuts. It usually comes with a serving of beans sprouts.
Banh mi in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Next to pho, the famous noodle soup, this crispy baguette sandwich is another Vietnamese staple street food, generally found sold at small, street side stalls. Filled with greens and a choice of ingredients, including pork liver paté, sausage, shredded radish, cuts of cucumbers or a freshly made omelet, this dish has attracted a growing fan base around the word.
These enormous, cheap and filling “sizzling” pancakes are not made with eggs but with a batter of rice flour and turmeric. Stuffed with shrimps, pork, bean sprouts and eggs, they are fried, then wrapped in rice paper with greens and finally dunked in a spicy sauce before eaten.