Tag Archives: food

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?

 

Black Gold Around the World

7 Mar

Life’s too short to drink bad coffee! Or so they say. I must say in my travels I have been granted some of the best and worst coffee experiences that I’ve ever experienced. So what are the best countries (and worst) to chase that caffeine hit?

The Good

Italy- Some of my favourite memories of travel are sitting in the piazzas of Rome and Florence and throwing back anespresso. Before I went to Italy I was a super sweet, caramel latte drinker but Italy taught me to love coffee in it’s simple, pure form. While I still indulge in the odd latte (skim to cut down on the milk taste) my coffee machine definitely churns out espressos on a daily basis.

The Surprise

Vietnam– It’s not really that much of a surprise when you look back to the French colonial days that the Vietnamese can pull off a good coffee. There was nothing nicer than sitting overlooking the valleys of Sapa on a cold winter day sipping a glass of the thick, nutty cup of coffee (with some sweetened condensed milk to mix in) perhaps accompanied by some delectable French pastries. Another surprise was down in Ho Chi Minh City and some of the great cafes where you would be transported out of the city into cool gardens indulging in brilliant Iced Coffees and forgetting that the bustling traffic was only a few metres away.

The Bad

Cambodia- As much as I love Cambodia the coffee was rather bad. Dishonourable mention goes to our attempt to have a caffeine hit at 4:30 am when waiting to see sunrise at Angkor Wat. In the darkness we drank what can only be compared to mud and despite how tired we were I couldn’t force myself to finish it. Other than that it was a case of instant or 3 in 1 mix, drinkable to satisfy the cravings but not something that sticks in your memory. Better to stick to the juices or Angkor Beer!

The Strange

Indonesia-There’s no doubt that Indonesia has some fantastic coffees to offer (Aceh and Bengkulu beans are new favourites of mine) and a lot of rather bad ones. However there is one that draws mixed reactions from people- the infamous Kopi Luwak.

Kopi Luwak- Expensive but not spectacular

Gathered from the faeces of a civet cat after it eats the beans it is the most expensive coffee in the world. I paid $10 to give it a try one day and despite my amusement at the ceremony in serving it, it was mostly disappointing with a real earthy flavour, tasty but not worth the ridiculous price tag. It’s worth a try- you might like it.

The Best

Canberra- I know it’s not the most exotic place or known for its coffee but truth is we have a lot of good cafes thanks to the thousands of public servants and university students. One place worthy of mention is Lonsdale Street Roasters which gets rave reviews for good reason. Consistently great coffee and quick, friendly service, what more could you ask for? Maybe some delicious paninis or reasonably priced beans roasted on site? They’ve got that covered too!

That’s just my opinion. What are some of your best and worst coffee experiences from around the world?