7 meals you NEED to try in Asia
My husband and I have many fond memories of our trip to South East Asia: the beaches, temples, elephant rides, sailing on the Mekong River, friendly people- the list goes on and on.
However, when we’re reminiscing about our month backpacking it’s the food that brings the biggest smiles. From street food to five star restaurants and everything in between, as long as the kitchen was clean we gave it a go! These are the seven that I would travel all the way back for…
1. Bun Cha – Vietnam
My husband and I found this dish while dining in Hanoi. We had never heard of Bun Cha before, but the menu description tickled our fancy. Herb infused pork with rice noodles and a sauce that’s sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time (like all good Vietnamese food is). It was so good that we went back to the same restaurant the next night for another Bun Cha fix.
2. Lok Lak – Cambodia
Prior to visiting Cambodia, I had no understanding of Khmer cooking and was pleasantly surprised when we arrived in Phnom Penh. Lok Lak definitely tops my list of Cambodian dishes, although some would argue Amok Curry is better. The beef, tomato sauce and pepper is the perfect mix of French and Asian. The fact you can get it with French Fries instead of rice makes it even better!
3. Claypot – Vietnam
We tried Claypot dishes in a number of different countries but there was a particular one from Nha Trang, which still gets me salivating. Claypots come in a range of flavours including beef and chicken but this one was pork with a sort of caramelized onion – delicious.
4. Fragrant Lemongrass Stuffed Chicken – Laos
Anyone who visits Luang Prabang should head to Tamarind restaurant for some authentic and delicious Laotian cuisine. We enjoyed two meals here and tried a number of dishes (the steamed fish in banana leaf and Laos sausage were also yummy) but it was the fragrant lemongrass stuffed chicken that was our favourite. The chicken is minced and then moulded around the lemongrass skewers, infusing the meat with its delicious flavor.
5. Pho – Vietnamese
No trip to Vietnam is complete without many bowls of steaming noodle soup or Pho. The locals enjoy it for breakfast and I was happy to join in. What makes it so yummy are all the flavours in the broth and the fresh herbs they use – no chicken stock cube in a pot of water here!
6. Sticky Rice and Mango – Laos and Thailand
I’m not much of a dessert person and my husband tends to stick to chocolate so this was a pleasant surprise from a cooking class we took in Chang Mai. The rice is both creamy and salty (an almost caramel flavour) and then served with fresh mangos, which perfectly cuts through the creamy rice. I blame this dish for at least one of the KGs I gained on the holiday, but it was well worth it.
7. Green Papaya Salad – Thailand and Vietnam
This was another dish I wouldn’t have tried had we not first been introduced to it in a cooking class. Personally I avoid savoury dishes which use fruit. However, the key ingredient, green papaya adds a sour taste to create a perfectly balanced dish. The added benefit of a cooking class is of course the ability to recreate your favourites at home.
No matter what your culinary delight, all of the above should be washed down with a nice cold local beer. There are many to choose but I would definitely suggest Beerlao – the perfect accompaniment to a hot day and at about $1 a can, very affordable. 😉
Do you have a fave Asian dish? Tell us about it in the comments!