A city born from sights, smells and culture, there’s a reason us Hong Kongers go back to Bangkok time and again – and not just for a cheeky night out on Khao San Road.
A trip to Thailand’s capital is not complete until you follow your stomach to some of the best street eats in the city. From tantalising Tom yum soup and Pla pao (whole fish stuffed with lemongrass, crusted in salt) to Pad thai (a staple!) and black-sesame filled sweet dumplings (Bua loy nam khing), you literally can’t walk more than a couple of steps without stumbling upon metal carts brimming with flavour. Our favourite foodie hotspots include: Old Town and Saphan Lueng.
Fly to: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
Flight time: 3 hours
Must try: Hoy tod nai mong (a crispy, fried mussel pancake)
Read more: The Best Food In Bangkok
There is always cause to book a quick flight to Taipei for the weekend. The food alone is worth every penny – and let us tell you, you’ll be more than happy to splurge on Taiwanese staples as you scour the streets for steaming black pepper buns, light and fluffy Gua bao and irresistible ice cream Runbing (spring roll papers stuffed with candied peanuts, vanilla ice cream and coriander).
Taipei’s street food scene does not mess about and, sure, stinky tofu might not be everyone’s go-to snack, but food options are endless and the atmosphere is consistently vibrant. Probably the most popular, Shi Lin Night Market is the largest on offer. But don’t turn your nose up at the smaller, more local markets – there are some real gems and hundreds of secret family recipes to sample.
Fly to: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
Flight time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Must try: Black pepper buns
Sassy tip: It’s agreed amongst the team that for the best buns in the biz, head to Raohe Night Market
Read more: 5 Reasons Taipei Makes For An Awesome Girls Getaway, 48 Hours In Taipei: A Guide For First Time Visitors
Ahh, the humble Banh mi. Whenever we are lucky enough to holiday in Vietnam, these fresh, crispy baguettes filled with meats and pickled veg are first on our list to devour, however – don’t fill up too quickly as the city has so much more to offer. There are also tons of veggie options now becoming more widely available.
Whether you’re snacking on fresh spring rolls (Goi cuon) by the beach or hunting for huge heaps of authentic dishes on the street side, make sure to sample a little of everything. Bo la lot (minced beef wrapped in wild betel leaf), Bun mam (fermented fish soup) and Banh tet (banana and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf) are a few of our faves.
Read more: Sassy’s Favourite Banh Mi In Hong Kong
Fly to: Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport
Flight time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Must try: Bahn mi and Pho are obvious favourites, but you won’t regret trying Banh xeo, a savoury crepe cooked in pork fat, topped with prawns, bean sprouts and finished with sweet chilli fish sauce.
Second to its impressive street art, Penang is famed for its array of mouth-watering street eats. From huge woks tossing oodles of Char koay tweo noodles to large bowls of spicy Laksa soup, we suggest donning your sneakers and doing a “crawl” from stall to stall, picking up a few Tiger beers as you go.
If deep fried is your thing, then try Lor bak – meat, seafood, tofu and veg seasoned with five spice, rolled in beancurd and deep fried. Or give the ever popular Oh chien (oyster omelette) a go – it’s found at New Lane Hawker Centre, as well as all over town.
Fly to: Penang International Airport
Flight time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Must try: Popiah. A crispy, spring roll-like crepe made of soybean curd, eggs, vegetable stew and chinese lettuce. Dip in sweet chilli and black sauce.
Sassy tip: Supposedly the best Popiah is served at stall 17 of Padang Brown Hawker Centre!
Read more: Travel Penang: Top Picks And Local Favourites
Popular foodie spot, Donghuamen Night Market may have closed down, but there are countless other awesome markets to enjoy all over Beijing. Snack until your heart’s content at the likes of Wangfujing Snack Street, Niujie, Guijie (Ghost Street) and Dashilar (to name but a few!) and chomp down on Jianbing (a fried pancake filled with egg, fermented soy sauce, chilli paste, sesame seeds and spring onions), Tanghulu (a crabapple-like fruit doused in molten sugar) and grilled Kao chuan’r meat skewers. If you’re feeling brave, Beijing offers up a few more “unusual” skewers to sample too. Grilled centipedes and spiders, anyone?
Fly to: Beijing Capital International Airport
Flight time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Must try: Shandong Buns
Sassy tip: Harbouring huge lines at all times of the day, the best Shandong bun is supposedly steamed at the Shandong Bun Shop on Gulou Dongdajie.
Read more: 24 Hours In Shenzhen: Where To Stay, Eat & Explore
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2018 by Lexi Davey and was updated in November 2019 by Tania Shroff.