Eating my way through Southeast Asia

9 Mar

Food glorious food. The first time I went to Vietnam it was because I’d watched far too much of Luke Nguyen’s cooking show and had been inspired to go and explore the country and more importantly try these foods first hand. Eating is possibly one of my favourite parts of traveling particularly the opportunity to try local foods they rarely disappoint (except when I went to the Philippines). We’re quite spoilt in Canberra to have a wide selection of foods but nothing compares to trying them at the source. In this blog I’ll highlight some of my favourite Southeast Asian meals that I’ve had and over the next few months attempt to make them myself and share the results with you lovely people. So to kick us off…

Thailand

Thailand has a wonderful freshness to it with its chilli and basil. My top picks in Thailand are

Green Curry- It’s a bit of a staple with its spicy flavours and creamy sauce. A bit of jasmine rice (perhaps shaped like a turtle?) and an icy Singha to wash it down and your good to go.

Green Curry and Turtle Rice in Bangkok

Pad Thai- Oh I love Pad Thai so much. A friend of mine makes a version which rivals some of those I’d had in Thailand. Tamarind and delicious rice noodles. Whether you get your 2am fix from a stall on Khao San Road or have it in a restaurant it’s rather satisfying.

Or if that’s not your style you could eat some bugs…

Cambodia

I ate a lot of really delicious food in Cambodia which sort of felt like a clash between Thai and Vietnamese cuisine with lots of fresh flavours and brilliant curries. There is one thing that stood out for me though.

Sihanoukville BBQ- Super cheap, big, delicious meals on the beach accompanied by even cheaper cocktails. Heaps of options from all kinds of meats and seafood the standouts for me were the huge tiger prawns and the Coca-Cola pork ribs. I’m a fan of ribs so may have to give these ones a shot.

Indonesia

Indonesia has a lot of food that I really enjoy and a lot that I can’t stand. Also a lot of it I’ve tried cooking in the past and it’s proven too hard so I don’t really bother it anymore. While it’s probably wrong to put Indomie on this list (but I’ll show you how to make it better) a few of my favourites over here at the moment are,

One of my favourite Mie Ayam Warungs in Jogja

Mie Ayam- Chicken Noodles in soup. It’s oh so simple but tasty and refreshing and has Asian greens in it which I particularly enjoy. Best eaten on the side of the road sitting on the ground.

Nasi Goreng- People often ask me what my favourite food is and laugh when I say nasi goreng. Sure fried rice is incredibly simple but it’s super reliable and you never have two which are alike.

Vietnam

Fresh Spring Rolls- Definitely one of my favourite entrees and they’ll make you never want to eat their deep fried cousins ever again. Creating the perfectly balanced dipping sauce is hard but they a very versatile with fillings ranging from duck, pork and prawns or even a personal version of mine with kangaroo for a slight Australian fusion. Often a go to quick meal for me I’ll show you a few versions.

Pho- Possibly my all time favourite food and one that I have scoured Canberra trying to find a good version of it. Beef or Chicken is standard (although veggie and seafood versions exist) personally I prefer the beef. My mouth waters when I think of some of the pho I had in Vietnam and while it is super hard to cook from scratch (It took me 10 hours to get the broth ok) you can cheat and get pho seasoning cubes as I’ll show you.

Chowing down on some cricket at Khao San Road

So that’s it for now. Now to decide which of these delicious offering to cook first or you can let me know below and I’ll post the recipes and photos of the results (although it should be noted that I’m no masterchef )

What are some of your favourite countries to eat in and favourite dishes?

 

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2 Responses to “Eating my way through Southeast Asia”

  1. One World, 4 Girls March 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I agree with everything. We are in SE Asia currently, and big fans of the street food – you can never go wrong. One of my favorite Thai foods is Penang curry, and we enjoyed Es Jeruk (an extremely sweet drink made with the green oranges they have in Indonesia). Don’t get me started on dessert, because I could ramble on forever about the steamed buns and flaky pastries you just don’t get in America. I am looking forward to the food in Vietnam, where we’ll be soon!

    • courts March 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      I love Es Jeruk! I miss being able to walk across the road from my house in Yogyakarta and getting a glass of it whenever I felt like it. I could easily drink litres of the stuff in a day. Vietnam has incredible food! Pho for breakfast and delicious baguettes, I would never get sick of the food there.

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