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This article is part of Hipmunk’s Destination Unknown series.
Adventures don’t always have to include adrenaline pumping action, like jumping off cliffs and skydiving. Sometimes the best adventures are food-oriented. You might agree that some of the things you remember best from your travels are the meals you had and the new foods you tried. It’s no secret that eating is one of our favorite activities while traveling, especially in new destinations. This month, we’ll explore some lesser-known Asian destinations and introduce you to the top five adventures in Asia for foodies.
Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Have you heard of Sha Tin, Hong Kong? It’s a new suburb outside Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle in The New Territories, formed to accommodate the rapid overflow of the city’s population. While you’ll want to check out Sha Tin’s main attractions, like the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery and the Che Kung Temple, the real adventure is at New Town Plaza. This is Hong Kong’s second-largest shopping mall, with more than 350 shops. Before you start thinking you’re in for some retail therapy, you’re not. There are over 50 Chinese, Asian, and Western restaurants and cafes to try, including Fo Tan, which serves Dai Pai Dong, a traditional Hong Kong dish you must try.
If you’ve never experienced Indonesian food, you’re missing out. In many Indonesian cities, you’ll find hundreds of restaurants serving cheap and delicious specialties, but Seminyak, Indonesia, is a more upscale resort area, catering to its well-to-do clientele. The dining experience includes stunning restaurants and beautifully-plated chef creations. Be sure to visit Metis, one of Seminyak’s most popular restaurants, where you can dine at a private table surrounded by their famous lotus pond.
Indian cuisine is still a big mystery to me – the spices, the unique, bold flavors, the diverse dishes – there’s so much to learn. Mumbai, India, is the perfect place to start. It’s a good idea to begin your Mumbai adventure with a food tour. Not only will you learn immediately what dishes to order and where to eat during your stay, you’ll also see the city on a walking tour with an experienced guide. Food Tours in Mumbai offers a three-hour walking and eating tour of the city.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
When people think of Siem Reap, they immediately associate it with the Angkor Wat temple complex, since that’s the main attraction for travelers. However, when you’ve finished exploring the temple, turn your attention to the flavorful Cambodian cuisine. Learning to cook traditional dishes is one of my favorite activities, and cooking classes are available at a few Siem Reap resorts, including the beautiful Sojourn Boutique Villas, where you’ll learn to cook with one of their head chefs during a half or full-day class.
If there is any place on earth where you can find any type of street food available at any hour of the day, it’s in Penang. You can’t walk more than a block and not encounter street food vendors. It’s even been called Asia’s street food capital. When you’re in Penang, it’s only appropriate to go on a street food mission. The best place go is George Town, where hawker centers prevail. If you don’t know where to start or how and what to order, follow this 24-hour street food experience that will guide you through a 24-course eating extravaganza.
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If you a have a chance to visit any of these great destinations, we’re sure you’ll love the food in each and find that these top five Asian adventures for foodies stoke your excitement for culinary travel.