Will you travel or queue for food? While most of us here at Zafigo are not fond of getting hangry whilst standing in line for food, there are certain exceptions. Some of us, notably our Editor, Zai, have planned culinary vacations solely based on the food to be had in the destination of choice.
Nothing screams, “I am Malaysian, and I love food!” more than travelling across the world just to savour amazing cuisines. Find out where and why we’ll fly for food (plus, sometimes queue for), all just for the noms!
Somsak Pu Ob, Bangkok, Thailand
Fiona Thong, Sales & Marketing Lead
I would most definitely book a flight to Bangkok and queue for Somsak Pu Ob‘s claypot seafood glass noodles! Apart from the super fresh prawns and crabs (with roe), the glass noodles also share the spotlight in this dish. The dish is prepared over a charcoal fire in a claypot and then topped with a generous amount of green onions.
A soy sauce concoction is poured onto the dish, which is soaked up by the glass noodles, making every bite umami-filled. The flavour is so delicious and unique; I haven’t tasted anything similar at other restaurants yet!
Address: 234 Lat Ya Rd, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
Contact: +66 8 9494 1000
Darjeeling Express, London, England
Maggie De souza, Brand Experience Manager
If you’ve watched Chef’s Table or listened to our podcast episode where we had Asma Khan on as a guest, you probably know about the Darjeeling Express‘ Biryani Supper Club. If you don’t, well, it’s a once-a-week-ish special night where the renowned London-based chef treats diners to her Kolkata-style dum biryani. The whole do is an experience in itself — Asma kicks off the feast by unveiling the dish, then serving it to guests dawaat style.
Tables for this dinner are high in demand, and you’ll need to book yours in advance. Her restaurant is often visited by stars like Paul Rudd, Riz Ahmed, and Kumail Nanjiani too, so if you’re lucky, you could bump into one of them. I’ve no plans to visit London anytime soon, but if I do, this particular dum biryani is the first thing I want to eat!
Address: 2.1, 2.4 Kingly Ct, Kingly St, London W1B 5PW, United Kingdom
Contact: +44 20 3375 3772
SMITHS Fish & Chips, Singapore
Emma Mallaburn, Sub-Editor
One might ask, why in Singapore? The answer is simple: Malaysia doesn’t have a decent chip shop like SMITHS, and definitely, not one I’d spend time in line for. The fish and chips here are as authentic as you’d get them in the UK, and don’t get me started on their pies, which, if you go, you simply must order the Steak and Guinness Pie.
Other items worth ordering from the menu include Bangers & Mash, Breaded Calamari & Chips, and always ask for extra curry sauce — ou won’t regret it! So, yes, this is the one place I’d travel to and line up for!
Address: 271 Bukit Timah Rd, #01-02 Balmoral Plaza, Singapore 259708
Contact: +65 6737 9313
Asador Etxebarri, Bizkaia, Spain
Tengku Zai, Editor
My family and I are serious when it comes to food. While we’re not the sort who’d line up for food, we’re no strangers to planning holidays around dinner reservations (yes, we book restaurants before we book our flights), so it’s a given that there are also places we’d travel far and wide to eat. For me, one such place is Asador Etxebarri.
Situated in a stone building at the lush foothills of the Spanish Basque Country, this award-winning restaurant heroes local produce. What makes it really stand out is its in-house cooking processes, all of which Basque chef Victor Arguinzoniz designed to harness mind-blowing amounts of flavour from the simplest of ingredients.
From their fully-adjustable grills with a special pulley system to coal-fired ovens, you won’t find a ‘standard’ kitchen here. And it shows in the food — it’s above and beyond what you’d expect. From start to finish, expect a uniquely-prepared meal. Hey, even the desserts have been kissed with a hint of smoke. Divine! I so wish I could dine here one day.
Address: San Juan Plaza, 1, 48291 Axpe, Bizkaia, Spain
Padella, Borough Market, London, England
Xin Xin Lee, Head of Design
This restaurant only offers a selected list of pasta dishes, as they believe every dish has to be well-made. Padella’s pastas are freshly made in the restaurant, and you’ll be able to watch them roll out the dough by hand through their facade window.
My personal favourite is the Pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu. It looks so simple, but oh my, is it packed with flavour! The pappardelle is cooked to perfection, and the beef is so tender and delicious. Best part of it all? It’s affordable, and we were so excited that we even queued 30 minutes before the restaurant actually opened!
Address: 6 Southwark St, London SE1 1TQ, United Kingdom
Ab-Zab Restaurant, Phuket, Thailand
Teresa Rodrigues, Brand & Programming Executive
Perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, Ab-Zab Restaurant in Phuket offers a delightful dining experience with a stunning view; it’s a must-visit if you’re a foodie, like me. Their menu has a variety of delicious dishes, but my personal favourites are the red pork curry, tom yam seafood, prawn cutlets, and deep-fried pork with garlic. Each dish is bursting with flavour and guaranteed to satisfy any cravings you might have.
Picture yourself relishing the rich and flavourful red pork curry, savouring the zesty tom yam seafood, enjoying the crispy prawn cutlets, and indulging in the savoury deep-fried pork with garlic, all while being treated to breathtaking ocean views. Why wouldn’t anyone travel for that?
Address: Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150, Thailand
Contact: +66 7661 8079
Mama Fina’s House of Filipino Sisig, New York, United States
Nora Faizul, Digital Marketer
If I had the opportunity to travel for food, I would choose Mama Fina’s in New York City in a heartbeat. Run by a Filipino family, this restaurant is as cosy and casual as you’d imagine when your mom cooks for you at home. The menu is a treasure trove of Filipino delicacies — from their iconic sisig, which offers sizzling delight in every meat imaginable (squid, pork, milkfish, etc.), to the sour but hearty sinigang soup that makes every spoonful feel like a warm hug in my belly.
As a student studying abroad, whenever homesickness set in, Mama Fina’s became a haven where I could find solace for my body and soul. It reminded me that even if I’m thousands of miles away, the taste of home could still be savoured and cherished. Ever since discovering Mama Fina’s, nothing has come close to the experience I had while dining with them. This restaurant will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Address: 167 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009, United States
Contact: +1 917-262-0893
Foo Hing Dim Sum, Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
River Huei, Content Executive
If you’ve seen or driven by this dim sum place in Puchong, you’d know that the queue for the restaurant is very long. I’m honestly not the kind of person to queue up for hours just for food, but I’d do it any time for Foo Hing Dim Sum. Although Puchong is quite a way for me to travel, I’d wake up early too and drive here just to avoid the breakfast crowd.
Not to further the hype, but in my opinion, their dim sum is the best I’ve ever had in the Klang Valley: especially their decadent and flaky Portuguese Egg Tarts, and their delicious springy steamed siew mai. Definitely give Foo Hing Dim Sum a try if you haven’t — or maybe not, so the queue doesn’t get longer!
Address: 1st Flr, No. 31, 33, 35-G, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
Contact: +60 3-8060 0546