Yaowarat Road is a street food haven by night. Photo: iStock Cooking Pad Thai in Yaowarat Road in Bangkok. Photo: iStock


Can food become art? In the case of Kyoto’s kaiseki cuisine, you’ll never have cause to doubt it. This is fine-dining finessed to its most delicate degree, the food of emperors tempered for modern palettes. A Kyoto kaiseki meal is a multi-course extravaganza of meticulously prepared and beautifully presented cuisine.

Eat it: Ishibekoji Kamikura, Kyoto  BANGKOK STREET FOOD

Every Asian city has its street food specialties – from spiced potato cakes in Mumbai to fried octopus balls in Osaka – but the hub with the widest range of roadside delights is Bangkok. Yaowarat Road in the Chinatown district offers a range of cuisine so mouth-watering, you’ll never visit a proper restaurant again.

Eat it: Yaowarat Road, Bangkok SOUTH INDIAN SMORGASBORD

One of Asia’s truly great meals is served not on a plate, but a banana leaf. In southern India, a thali – a traditional meal of various curries, rice, bread and sweets – is often served on nature’s plate, a vegetarian feast of local specialties that’s expected to be eaten by hand.

Eat it: Ananda, Hyderabad PHO, GLORIOUS PHO

There are few things better than a bowl of steaming, fragrant pho, and there are few better places to eat it than Ho Chi Minh City, perched on a plastic chair, slurping hot broth and noodles, taking in the sweaty, honking bustle of one of south-east Asia’s most vibrant cities.

Eat it: Pho Bo Vien Thap Cam, Ho Chi Minh City DINNER AND A SHOW

Some restaurants, you go for the food. Others, it’s the atmosphere. In the case of a small Tokyo eatery called Kagaya, you’re there for the pure insanity that unfolds over a few hours of drinking and dining. This is part restaurant, part performance art, and you will probably finish the night dressed as a giant green frog.

Eat it: Kagaya, Tokyo DIM SUM RIOT

You want dumplings at Lin Heung? Then go and get them. Diners at this no-frills Hong Kong dim sum joint stalk the kitchen staff, chasing down food carts and waiving stamp cards in the air to ensure they get the best dishes. It makes for a riotous and delicious dining affair.

Eat it: Lin Heung, Hong Kong KOREA’S ‘LIVE’ OCTOPUS

Sannakji is a traditional Korean dish of raw octopus tentacles that are so fresh, they’re still moving. That’s right: diners are presented with a plate of writhing, wriggling legs that have to be chewed quickly lest they attach themselves to the inside of your mouth. It’s … challenging.

Eat it: Norjangin Fish Market, Seoul SINGAPOREAN FEAST

There are plenty of amazing high-end restaurants in Singapore, but still, the best food is at the hawker centres. Each of these food court-style eateries plays host to old-school vendors dishing up Malay, Chinese, Indian and Singaporean cuisine that has been perfected over generations.

Eat it: Tiong Bahru Food Centre, Singapore HOT UNDER THE COLLAR

There’s competition in both Thailand and India, but Asia’s spiciest food is probably Chongqing hot pot, a beloved staple for residents of this Chinese metropolis, and a serious challenge for everyone else. These bubbling vats of soup are loaded with Sichuan peppers and chillis, resulting in tongue-singeing deliciousness.

Eat it: Cygnet Hot-Pot Palace, Chongqing ON THE NOSE

Most people have a love-hate relationship with durian: love the taste, hate the smell. These spiky, football-sized fruits give off a seriously rank pong – to the point where commuters are banned from eating them on public transport – that is still worth powering through to taste its sweet flesh.

Eat it: Durian King, Kuala Lumpur; durianking成都夜总会招聘.my