When I started to write my travel guide to Vietnam and Thailand I realized that 90% of what I wanted to write about was the food. So, in an effort to save you all from reading a 10-page blog post, I decided to dedicate an entire post about what and where to eat in the cities that I visited.
For me, traveling and visiting new places is all about experiencing the local culture. There is no better way to understand a culture and its people than through their food. As human beings we all need to eat. Food brings us together around the table and there is something so beautiful about that. I love nothing more than finding a local, hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ordering everything I can (within reason) from the menu. I’ve planned entire trips around a restaurant I’d been dying to visit. No shame.
When it came to our next international adventure, I knew it had to be somewhere in Asia. Because I love Asian food. I cook it at home. It’s one of the only cuisines I crave, and its the only restaurants I suggest when I go out to eat on the weekends. Did I mention I also love noodles? And curry? When I was looking back at my photos, I realized that I was so excited about what I had ordered that seven times out of ten I forgot to take a photo. But have no fear, I’ve linked each restaurant to Google, Facebook or TripAdvisor.
Ho Chih Minh City
This place gets its claim to fame because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie dined here on one of their family trips. The rooftop is a lush garden filled with tons of plants and lanterns. I’d make a reservation since they tend to be booked. We got lucky and snuck in an early dinner before the rush when we went!
This place was right across from our Air BNB and we popped in after dinner for a night cap. They had a great selection of beers and a chill, modern atmosphere. Highly recommend getting a flight!
I’m not going to lie. We were pretty disappointed in this place! The views were cool, but the drinks were overpriced for the lack of quality. If you’re dying to see the view, grab a quick drink and then head to another spot for dinner.
This was a cute little coffee place near our Air BNB. We stopped in on a whim and they had amazing iced coffee! The iced part was key considering it was already a balmy 85 degrees at 6 AM. They have amazing, fresh smoothies as well!
Looking for one of the best bowls of Pho in the city? Look no further than Pho 2000. This place regularly shows up in the top places to eat in Ho Chih Minh. It’s famous because when Bill Clinton visited back in 2000 during his tip that opened the borders of Vietnam to Americans, he ate here. Let me tell you, it lives up to the hype! Grab yourself a giant bowl of Pho for breakfast.
There are lots of little places along the river in Hoi An and we stopped in here to grab a drink and some appetizers. Think Vietnamese bar food! Was super casual and we had great service.
We walked into this bar and restaurant randomly and we were pleasantly surprised! It had the cutest decor and one of the tallest rooftop spots to overlook the city of lanterns. Not to mention they had amazing craft cocktails! They had a whole list of drinks that are made with all local ingredients. Absolutely worth stopping in for a drink (or two)!
This restaurant is very unassuming, but the food was incredible! We ordered family style for lunch and everything we had was good. Get the Cao Lau here! It’s a tasty soup that is similar to Pho, but you can only get it in Hoi An. Also don’t skip on the stewed fish with passion fruit. Sounds weird, but it was one of the best things we ate all trip!
The most incredible Banh Mi! Famous for the woman behind the sandwhich, Madam Knanh. Eat them in-house or grab they to go on your way to the beach.
Thipsamai claims to have the best pad thai in all of Bangkok. Consensus? It was damn good. We came around the corner and saw a huge line, that’s how you know it’s good! Don’t let the line deter you because the pad thai is worth it. The line moves really quickly because the place is actually a lot bigger than it seems. The pad thai is made with shrimp oil which gives it a really unique and amazing flavor.
This is where the famous Khao San backpacker road resides. It’s reputation is that it gets wild at night, but my husband and I went during the daytime after visiting some temples. We had a great lunch at a little spot in the alley and had some of the best curry we had during our time in Bangkok. If you’re looking for a wild night out, go in the evening. If you’re looking to explore the area with less tourists and more low key? Going late morning.
If you read my other post, then you know that we didn’t actually go here. I was so sad because this is the best rooftop in the city! Guys, make sure you’re wearing long pants. They don’t take reservations for the bar, so my advice is to go right at 6 PM when they open. They do have three restaurants as well, but they are a bit on the higher end.
Everything here is cooked to order and made fresh daily! This is a great spot to visit if you have any food allergies because they’re very cautious about how they prepare the food. The owner’s daughter has severe food allergies and they don’t take it lightly. The service was excellent and the food was out of this world. We were also able to select our spice level for our dishes which was really nice!
We wanted to eat authentic Thai food during our trip, but we stopped in here for an appetizer and a mojito. They have a great happy hour mojito with tons of flavors.
Great, low-key Thai food right in the heart of Sairee beach. There are lots of great little spots to choose from when you’re walking up and down the Sairee beach area. This place has great happy hour specials.
This restaurant was perched on the hill near our villa. I’ll be honest, the first day we went out of pure convenience because we were starving after a long travel day. It looks like an abandon building from the bottom. Not trying to scare you away, but we honestly didn’t think they were open at first. After climbing four flights of stairs we were greeted by the owner and chef. We were the only ones there and the views of the beach from the top are incredible. The woman’s husband goes out and fishes every morning and catches the fish for the restaurant each day. My husband got to go back in the kitchen and pick out which fish he wanted for his meal. We felt like we had our own private chef. It was so clean and the food was outstanding! Even if you’re staying in another part of the island it’s worth the trek just for the fresh, grilled fish and the views.
When I think back on our trip and all of the yummy food we ate, this meal stands out among the rest. It was walking distance from the Luxury Collection and had a great open air space. We ordered so many things off of the menu and shared. Whatever you do get the beef short ribs. Oh. my. god. They were so flavorful and so tender. I don’t even know what was on them, but they were delicious. If you love curry and noodles, get the Northern Thai curry noodle (also called Khao Soi. This is my favorite Thai dish. Its a rich, creamy and slightly spicy golden curry broth with coconut milk and homemade noodles. It was the best thing I ate all week in Thailand. My advice? Order a bunch and share. The menu is huge and filled with so many good dishes that you won’t be able to pick just one.
On our last night we ate at the Thai place at the Luxury Collection out of sheer laziness. We did a boat tour all afternoon and were so tired. I normally hate eating at hotels or resorts when I am on vacation, but Kiree was amazing! The prices were slightly higher considering the restaurant is inside the hotel, but they were’nt nearly as bad as I’d expect and the food was worth it. Get the Thai style tuna poke. It comes with a little bit of heat, but it’s so good. Also, my new favorite dessert is mango with sweet sticky rice. The rice is cooked with sugar and coconut milk so its creamy, but not too sweet. Paired with the tang of the mango it’s the perfect dessert in my opinion. Kiree is worth stopping in the Luxury collection even if you’re not staying there. They also do 2 for 1 happy hour from 530 to 730!