Smell and taste teach as much about a place as what you see.
One of our favorite aspects of travel is food. The preparation, presentation and flavors, even how you eat, say a lot about a country and its people. That said, Southeast Asia is an amazingly appetizing smorgasbord of cultural experience!
Our stays in various countries ranged from three to 30 days so this is by no means a complete or authoritative guide to Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s simply our tasty compilation of grazing moments . . .
We were delighted to find that Japan is much more than rice and sushi . . .
On a foodie side note, there is a whole industry based around plastic food. Most Japanese restaurants showcase menu offerings in outdoor display windows and cases. They are eerily realistic!
Thai food has always been one of our favorites. We were fascinated by the floating food market/food court outside Bangkok.
We enjoyed one especially good dinner at Bangkok’s Tealicious restaurant.
The food scene in Singapore is much more ethnically diverse than other Southeast Asian countries we visited. As mentioned in my previous blog, Singapore is multi-racial and multi-cultural. Their cultural goal of “integration, not assimilation,” is deliciously evident in their plethora of food offerings.
Despite being one of the most expensive city/countries in the world, one can find good, inexpensive food if you know where to look. Frank and I had some of our best cheap eats within the ethnic conclaves of Little India and Arab Street and at hawker centers (open air complexes housing inexpensive food stalls). In fact, the cheapest Michelin rated restaurant is still located in a Singapore hawker center!
Singapore was part of Malaysia until 1965. Malays make up 15% of Singapore’s population and we enjoyed a lot of wonderful Malaysian food while we were there. When early Chinese migrants married local Malays, they also wedded their culinary ingredients and spices to create Nyonya cuisine. It’s aromatic. It’s spicy. It’s delicious. Many of those dishes (i.e. Rendang, Laksa, Mee Siam) were featured in the Singapore section above. We visited two Malaysian cities, Melaka and Penang, where we discovered a few more standout dishes.
And the award for best food goes to . . .
What can I say? We loved everything we tried here!