[Sponsored] Destinations like Bangkok, Yangon, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong are a hit with Singaporean travelers and with good reason—for one, these Southeast Asian cities are teeming with hip and trendy places to eat and drink.
You’ll want to book the next flight out when you see what we’ve rounded up. To avoid breaking the bank, get the best deals on both hotel and flight bookings, as well as great rebates on ZUJI.com.sg when you use Visa.
Excited? Read on.
Where to eat: If you’ve already done Nahm, Soul Food Mahanakorn and Bo.lan, time to set your sights on Baa Ga Din, which offers an exciting take on Thai street food, using modern techniques. The decor has a colorful, splashy thing going on, with schoolyard tables and motifs like fighting cock, fish and lottery tickets. Try the delicately pressure cooked, then deep-fried chicken wings, served with fermented green chili sauce and basil mayo, as well as the crispy oysters, batter-fried with egg mousse and served with oyster mayo and chili puree.
Where to drink: Teens of Thailand is a must-visit for cocktail lovers. Appearing on the first-ever Asia’s 50 Best Bars list this year, this ramshackle shophouse is reminiscent of a Wong Kar Wai film, with all its all aging wood, peeling paint, dim yellow lighting and a short but exciting list of gin cocktails. Located in the heart of Chinatown, it’s a great reason to make the trek out from downtown.
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Where to eat: Bangkok isn’t the only city with stylish indie joints serving progressive plates. At the pretty, industrial-feeling Rangoon Tea House, you can pair your cocktails with a modern spread of Burmese cuisine ranging from Nyaungyan chill chicken, mohnyin tjin fried rice and chargrilled fresh water prawns. What’s more, the restaurant has 16 different types of beer available too.
Where to drink: Hip new bars just keep opening in Yangon these days. Among the latest crop is The Penthouse, a sprawling, high-ceilinged, industrial-chic loft space just off bustling Dhammazedi Road. The food menu involves standard bistro fare (burgers, risotto, et cetera), but even more exciting is the large terrace with sweeping, uninterrupted views of the sunset and the lit-up Shwedagon. Stay for DJ sets after 9:30pm.
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Ho Chi Minh City
Quan Ut Ut
Where to eat: If you find yourself craving for more than pho, American-style barbecue joint Quan Ut Ut has a delightful, if artery-clogging menu of roasts, sausages, steaks and burgers. It’s hard to choose from such a wide selection of dishes, but we have our eye on the full-rack cashew-smoked pork ribs; slow-cooked St Louis-cut ribs and The Smoke & Pickle Plank, a gut-busting buffet of Kilpatrick oysters, chicken consomme shooters, bacon, spicy wings and Italian sausages, chicken skin, half rack ribs, sides, drinks and a Platinum beer tower. Phew.
Where to drink: Bars in Ho Chi Minh City tend to be either streetside or a bit staid and uppity. The brand new and very cool Indika is a refreshing change from all that. Located in a cozy, aging house that’s all raw concrete, exposed brick and overgrown trees, this shop-cum-cafe-cum-bar is both casual and highly Instagrammable. Check on their Facebook page before you go to see what interesting events they have coming up. There’s an all-day DJ extravaganza for International Reggae Day and a weekly Sunday gathering in their “jungle garden”.
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Where to eat: You may already be familiar with hearty Malaysian street food, but what about the best fine dining restaurants in the city? Dewakan is an elegant establishment doling out molecular interpretation of ingredients used typically in Malaysian cuisine. Expect beautifully plated creations like cured mackerel with ulam raja, pomelo and local flowers, and eggplant braised in mushroom stock, with jackfruit seeds, black bean sauce and garlic emulsion.
Where to drink: The first Asian outpost of Australia’s Nant Whisky Bar has just opened at The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, giving whisky lovers cause to rejoice. Set in a stylish, Mod Art Deco space, the famed bar stocks an award-winning lineup of highland single malt whiskies, with highlights like the Nant Sherry Wood, American Oak Bourbon Wood, French Oak Port Wood and American Oak Sherry Wood Cask Strength. Don’t miss out on their signature cocktail, the Black Ray Whisky Espresso Martini.
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One Star House Party
Where to eat: This buzzing city has home to some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in Asia, and no trip to Hong Kong is complete without sampling the who’s who in the local dining scene. It’s no surprise that chef James Sharman (formerly of NOMA) and his team decided to make One Star House Party, a series of restaurant pop-ups, a regular affair at Soho Printing Press. For one week each month, Sharman brings an ever-changing “traveling” menu from participating cities such as San Francisco, New York and Taipei.
Where to drink: Typical American neighborhood bar meets Coyote Ugly levels of trashy glamor in what is perhaps Hong Kong’s coolest new watering hole (and #19 on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list). The Pontiac in SoHo has a faux-dingy setting (think writing on the wall, jukebox, vintage images), don’t-mess-with-me bartenders and a craft cocktail offering helmed by Beckaly Franks, the first female bartender to win the 42 Below World Cocktail Cup.
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