We all know the best thing about travelling is trying the dishes from around the world. Every country and region has their own speciality and part of the excitement is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try what the locals eat! Food in South East Asia is no different. From country to country, there are new and delicious dishes to try. Here are a few of our favourites:
Pho in Vietnam:
Pho is a broth with rice noodles, herbs, vegetables and meat (vegetarian option if needed). It is considered Vietnam’s national dish and it is served in restaurants, street stalls and at home! It usual to see restaurants serving Pho all around the world now due to its globalisation after the Vietnamese War, where refugees shared their recipes wherever they went. Even if you have tried this soup elsewhere, it won’t compare to sitting on a Vietnamese side street being served a big bowl of broth made and enjoyed by the locals.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee:
Vietnamese iced coffee will be the best iced coffee you’ll ever try. Made with strong dark roast coffee, ice and condensed milk, this sweet treat is the ideal way to cool off after a day in the heat. Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam in the mid 1850’s, however because of their limited dairy farming, condensed milk was used instead of fresh milk. This gives it a deliciously creamy and sweet taste, however, the strong dark coffee cuts through it, balancing the flavours perfectly.
Pad Thai in Thailand
Pad Thai is a simple and fresh noodle dish served all over Thailand. With lime, scrambled egg, peanuts and beansprouts, it’s an easy dish to customise by adding chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or just vegetables. Expect to see street sellers all over Thailand serving up generous portions of this delicious meal from huge woks. There are various rumours surrounding the introduction of Pad Thai, but the most prominent is that during World War II the country suffered rice shortages so the Prime Minister introduced a new noodle recipe which also helped galvanise nationalism!
Thai Green or Red Curry in Thailand
Thai curry is recognisable from its distinctive use of coconut cream. It is a tangy, smooth and often spicy curry with fish, chicken or vegetables. It is delicious and is now served around the world because of its popularity. It is well worth trying in Thailand, but make sure you can handle a bit of spice!
Fish Amok in Cambodia
This delicious curry fish curry is different from any other because of its distinctive mousse-like texture. The curry is made from coconut cream/milk and eggs and is stewed in a banana leaf until the unique consistency is achieved. This dish is associated with the Khmer Empire, meaning it could even date back to the 9th century! This makes Fish Amok a must-try during a South East Asia adventure.
Larb in Laos
Larb is a ground-meat salad, full of herbs, limes, fish sauce and a ground dry-rice powder sprinkled over the top. This is a customisable dish where you can add or take away any ingredient to make it exactly to your taste. It became so popular in South East Asia that it crossed multiple borders, with some even considering it a traditional Thai dish now!
Banh Mi in Vietnam
Banh Mi is the best sandwich you’ll ever try! It is rich in incredible South East Asian flavours, and available on every street corner. It is a baguette filled with meat or egg, and crunchy flavour-filled vegetables and a special sauce. This dish has an interesting history, mainly owing to the French for introducing bread (particularly baguettes) into the country. It is a delicious and easy meal to make, meaning you can now find Banh Mi sellers all around the world.
Tumpeng in Indonesia
The official Indonesian national dish is a beautiful rice dish with vegetables and meat. It is an impressive looking dish where the rice is shaped using a bamboo cone, and therefore used in the community feast tradition in Javanese Slametan ceremony. It is often served in quite formal occasions, and reflects the mountains and volcanoes found on Indonesian islands.
Food in South East Asia is rich in flavour and spice, these are just a few speciality dishes, there are hundreds more to try! Check out our South East Asia tours here reserve your space on our next adventure to try these delicious dishes!