8 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia

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A9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast AsiaSoutheast Asia is a foodie’s paradise, plain and simple. Whether you’re eating at a fancy restaurant or a makeshift food stall, you’ll be sure to excite your taste buds as you feast on the flavorful, and diverse selection. Imagine dishes that are sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy all in one bite. Are you hungry yet? Although the cuisine of Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, The Philippines, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam share similar core ingredients there are distinct distinguishing features. It’s not all rice and noodles (although you undoubtedly will feast on these carbs in some form or another).

Family is a huge part of the culture across Southeast Asia, and therefore most meals are served family style. The dishes are meant to be shared, and as travelers, it is fun to take part in this tradition. After all, every dish is so delicious, it would be a shame not to share your meals with your travel mates. Don’t be surprised if some of the locals invite you into their home, or to join them at their table at a restaurant; this is half the fun! Any language barrier becomes nonexistent when there is good food, drinks and laughter shared amongst all.

Traveling on a budget? Then don’t miss these awesome tips.

 

8 Must-Try Dishes In Southeast Asia

 

 

In this article, I’ve prepared the most popular dishes across Southeast Asia, with a couple of my personal favorites. Prepare to feast your eyes on some of the must-try cuisines across these countries, and try not to drool.

 

 

Indonesia: Nasi Padang

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Indonesia: Nasi Campur

Indonesia comprises over 900 inhabited islands and therefore has a vast variety of cuisines depending on where you are. I spent 3 months in Bali, and can easily say my favorite dish, and most popular is Nasi Padang. This is a simple dish, found at any Warung. A warung is a simple, often family run restaurant found in abundance throughout Bali. A typical warung will have a large counter of food made earlier in the day consisting of rice, vegetables, chicken, tofu, tempeh (soybean cake), fish, eggs, noodles, and chili sauce. It is one of the cheapest places to grab a tasty bite, and enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

 

 

Singapore: Bak Kut Teh

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Singapore: Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh translates simply into pork ribs soup. It is said that the soup was invented when a poor, starving beggar came to a food stall begging for food. The stall owner himself was in poverty but wanted to help the beggar, so he used whatever scraps he had left over to prepare a simple meal for the beggar. And Bak Kut Teh was born!

This is a very basic dish, simply made with pork ribs meat, star anise, and other simple herbs. Also, if you like it spicy, I would recommend adding some peppers available at most restaurants.

 

 

Myanmar: Lephet Thoke

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Myanmar: Lephet Thoke

Myanmar is not only the land of 4,000 temples but also a country to eat yourself into a food coma. Meat is a major staple here, with street BBQ’s a common site, however, lephet thoke, or tea leaf salad, is a dish not to be missed.

The dish is prepared by mixing the slightly sour, bitter tea leaves together with cabbage, tomatoes, deep-fried beans, nuts, and peas. The dish isn’t complete without the dressing: a combination of garlic oil, slices of garlic and chili.

The Burmese believe lephet thoke to be a stimulant, so don’t indulge in this dish if you want to go to sleep.

 

 

Cambodia: Fish Amok

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Cambodia: Fish Amok

In Southeast Asia food the word “amok” translates to the process of steam cooking a curry in banana leaves. Fish amok is a dish unique to Cambodia and can be found as street food across the country. The meal is prepared by cooking fish moose with vegetables, and coconut milk, and can be eaten with rice. Depending on the chef, they may even add lime, turmeric, and lemongrass.  And of course, if you like spicy, it can be prepared spicy with chili peppers and chili flakes. Although this specific recipe is unique to Cambodia, variations of amok can be found throughout Southeast Asia.

 

 

Philippines: Adobo

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Philippines: Adobo

Adobo is a famous staple not to be missed when traveling through The Philippines. The Spanish colonists coined the name adobo, which means marinade, sauce or seasoning. The meal is prepared by immersing raw meat into a stock mixture of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar. Interestingly enough this method was used to preserve meat before refrigerators had been invented, but now it remains to enhance the flavor of the meat.

 

 

Laos: Khao Jee

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Laos: Khao Jee

A complicated name, for a simple concept: French baguettes. And not just crispy baguettes by themselves, but baguettes filled with well, pretty much anything you’re in the mood for. Picture a street food Subway, except these baguettes, are made with fresh bread, locally sourced produce and fresh meat. Fill your baguette with pork liver pate, sausage, cheese, shredded carrot or radish, sliced cucumber and tomatoes with mayonnaise and chili sauce to top it off.

 

 

Thailand: Pad Thai

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Thailand: Pad Thai

Here is a name we’re all familiar with. Pad Thai is most likely one of the most popular Thai dishes found outside of Thailand. As delicious as it may be in your hometown, nothing quite beats the experience of eating an authentic pad thai on the streets of Bangkok. It is a cheap eat begging to be indulged upon time and time again.

Pad thai is made by adding rice noodles to a variety of ingredients such as peanuts, shrimp, tofu, garlic, pepper, bean sprouts, and lime sauce. Fry this mouthwatering concoction together with a scrambled egg, and there you have it. Simple, yet addicting this dish will always have my heart. Of course no pad thai is complete without a big squeeze of lime and a handful of peanuts tossed on top.

 

 

Vietnam: Pho

9 Mouthwatering Dishes To Try Across Southeast Asia Vietnam: pho

This dish is top on my list of all dishes in Southeast Asia. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have ordered this meal in Vietnam; I simply can’t get enough of it. Found throughout the streets of Vietnam, pho is a soup enjoyed by all. It is a common scene to walk down an alley during lunchtime and witness food stall after food stall packed to the brim with Vietnamese loudly slurping down some pho bo (pho with beef).

This dish is presented in two parts. First, rice noodles, bean sprouts and the meat of your choice are all mixed in with a salty broth. On a separate plate, you have the choice of adding chili peppers, scallions, limes, cilantro, and basil. And of course, no pho would be complete without adding some sort of hot sauce.

Okay, now I’ve officially written myself into a hunger stupor. I’m not sure which I’m craving the most: the adobo or the pad thai; or maybe I’ll just keep it simple and stick with good ole fashioned spring rolls. I hope this article has opened your mind to the endless possibilities of Southeast Asia cuisine. Happy feasting!

Interested in traveling to Southeast Asia? Check out these travel tips.

happywheels

World traveler; on an amazing journey to find my ultimate dream job, and travel the globe. Committed to fulfill my potential on this planet, and to encourage others to do the same.

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