With such a choice of cheap & tasty food available in Asia, it’s easy to become a foodie overnight.
Here are our favourite dishes from each country we visited over the 6 months; focused on the more ‘unusual’ or local ‘speciality’ dishes.
I’ve added a link for each, to a recipe site, so that I can cook them when I get back (& you can give them a go too, if you fancy).
Breakfast was by far the best meal of the day & here is a list of our favourites:
Recipe: String Hoppers
Recipe: Egg Hoppers
Pol Roti (coconut flatbread)
Recipe: Pol Roti
Of course, dinner is almost as amazing! Order a chicken or fish curry & be prepared as they come automatically with 3-4 vegetable side dishes plus tons of rice!
The other filling but cheap meal we liked is:
Like PadThai but instead of noodles made with strips of roti bread. This is really easy to make & has become one of our favourite recipes to cook at home (we cannot buy Roti bread in Spain, but Tortilla Wraps work just as well).
Recipe: Kottu Roti
Again a mixed rice based dish which will be slightly different each time you order it. The one below arrived for breakfast at our Ubud homestay & included: satay chicken, satay tofu, sticky sweet chili crispy tempeh, corn cakes & chili fried greens with beansprouts.
Al dente vegetables, served with rice crackers, egg & sometimes tofu/tempeh.
Recipe: Gado Gado
Nasi Goreng or Mee Goreng
Nasi – rice or Mee – noodles a classic cheap but wholesome fried dish based on the Goreng paste of blended spices.
Recipe: Nasi Goreng
Beef braised for hours in coconut milk, then subtle spices added. Is a key dish in Rijsttafel below.
Recipe: Beef Rendang
Rijsttafel (Rice table)
This is a meal made up of small portions of various Indonesian dishes, but an example recipe is shown here
Iced tea is again big here, this time green tea or a weak black tea. We liked ours with a mix of one of more of following: lemon juice, mint, honey or just on its own, but plenty of ice!
Taken from the Malaysian City by the same name.
Similar to a Thai Red Curry, but creamier & thicker. It appears on quite a lot of Thai menus.
Recipe: Panang Curry
Recipe: Curry Mee
Hariyali Green Chicken Curry
Ok I know it’s not ‘traditional’, but Malaysia is so greatly influenced by Indian/Bangladeshi food its got to go in here.
Recipe: Recipe: Hariyali Murg Curry
Our favourite drink is based on the Indian influence here: lassi. A milkshake made with yoghurt & available in good curry houses in the UK.
Iced tea is also popular here, based on green tea or a Malaysian black tea. Mint & lemon juice our favourites.
2nd Visit to Thailand
As we visited a 2nd time during the trip (& Thai food is amazing) I’ve taken the liberty of adding some more favourites:
Som Tom – Spicy Green Papaya Salad
Recipe: Papaya Salad
Recipe: Massaman Curry
Thai Galangal Chicken Soup ( Tom Ka Gai)
I’ve had this twice, once red coloured & killer hot, & once white & more subtle. I guess it depends whether you use red chilli paste or chopped chillis. Similar flavours to Tom Yum soup but supposedly milder.
Recipe:Chicken Coconut Soup
Iced Thai tea. A milky tea which has a pink colour & tastes like Rooibos tea. Like most Thai shakes & smoothies, its made with condensed milk, so incredibly sweet.
Laap or Larph
Laos food is strongly influenced by Thai food & Laap is the Laos equivalent of Larb mentioned earlier.
My favourite drink yet is found in Laos. Blitz lemon/lime juice, water, mint & honey/sugar syrup in a blender. Absolutely amazing on a hot day. Although similar drinks available in other countries, they haven’t been able to match the Laos blend.
A regional Vietnamese dish made with noodles, pork/chicken,and local herbs,that is only found in the town of Hội An. If you love the famous Pho noodles, you’ll love this regional adaptation.
Recipe: Cau Lau Noodle
Recipe: Chicken Claypot
The secret to Vietnamese food is the use of fresh herbs & here are some I hope to find when we are back in Europe.
We had great time cooking a 3 course meal with our host Ben & his mum at WithLocals. We asked him especially if we could cook Amok (a rich curry) which was our favourite whilst in Cambodia.
Recipe: Seafood Amok
Recipe: Traditional Lok Lak
I haven’t bothered to list the most common favourites of Thai cuisine, as we are all very familiar with those we like & their recipes. Instead, here are two of our personal favourites which are less known (which we came across in Chang Mai, Northern Thailand).
A coconut based curry speciality of Northern Thailand with both soft & crispy noodles.
Recipe: Khao Soi
Ground Pork/Chicken Larb, Jin Larb
This dish is from the northeast of Thailand and is easy to eat with sticky rice and fresh herbs/salad leaves. Larb is made from ground meat e.g. beef, chicken or pork then mixed with spices and fresh herbs inc mint. We only ate the chicken version as not big meat eaters.
I prefer this recipe for larp/larb with an additional tablespoon of tomato puree/ketchup
My favorite Larp recipe