The best Southeast Asian Dishes to seek out and enjoy
Asian food is great! Whether the cuisine is Thai, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese, it’s all good. If you haven’t gone Asian you are missing a taste treat that’s not only affordable and accessible but delicious as well!
Here are some Southeast Asian cuisine favorites, all showing up on American menus around the U.S.
Try bun (pronounced “boon”), a vermicelli salad dish. Using spring-roll bits, grilled lemongrass with pork, tender beef, tofu or chicken. Topped with shredded cucumber, iceberg lettuce, bean sprouts, mint, Thai basil, cilantro and scallion, with a light sauce of vinegar, fish sauce, sugar (Nuoc Mam) and crushed peanuts makes this delicacy burst with flavor. Served cold, bun is always a treat.
This Laotion traditional meat salad and versions in Vietnamese and Thai cuisines can also be found. Topped with shredded pork, beef, chicken, duck or fish is with fish sauce and lime juice.
The Thai soup Khao Soi, a hearty meal in a bowl coming from Northern Vietnam and Northern Thailand, with turmeric-tinged curry broth shows a Burmese influence. This soup is rich and spicy in a coconut milk base, fresh egg noodles, sliced meat and a garnish of deep-fried egg noodles, fried shallots, fresh squeezed lime and cilantro. Using a contrast of textures add to the unexpected tasty delight here.
These bite-sized packages are typically sold on the streets in Thailand and Vietnam are made from fresh leaves wrapped around shallots, chile peppers, ginger, garlic, lime, crushed roasted nuts. Makes for a great appetizer in the US restaurants.
Many variations of this soup can be found in Malaysia. The version found most often in the U.S. uses coconut curry, lemongrass and Chile peppers. With vermicelli and egg noodles in the broth and topped off with crushed or quartered boiled egg, bean sprouts and meat. Great flavorful dish.
The morning glory is a semi-aquatic plant that grows well all over Southeast Asia and is used a lot in Burmese, Thai, Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes. Having a spinach flavor its great to mix in stir-fried chiles and garlic as a side dish, but the best is the morning glory salad, with red cabbage, red onions, shrimp, cilantro, tomatoes and a light papaya sauce. Wonderful.
Nam or Naem
Thailand, has a sausage delight wherein pork is mixed with glutinous rice, spiced with chiles and garlic, and fermented in a banana leaf for several. This thin sausage with a particularly crispy exterior and a marked chewiness with a spicy flavor with a slightly sour hint is unusually palette pleasing. This preparation is simply served sliced with a few flavorful garnishes, like crushed peanuts and lime.
Stir Fried Crisp Catfish
This is the Thai version of fast food, and a wonderful little lunchtime dish that goes well a bowl of steamy hot rice. The catfish is crispy deep fried and lightly toasted in freshly pounded aromatic red curry paste with palm sugar and fish sauce and fresh kaffir lime leaves. Simple and delicious.
Khao na pet
Rice and roast duck and duck broth on the side. Simply served with sliced chillies in soy sauce.
Head-on, Americans really do not prefer their fish with the head on, but with the fins on and fried to a crisp, a whole Thai-style fish may look unappetizing to some but it’s a great dish. Topped with a bright sauce of garlic, chiles and tamarind, and it makes an interesting addition to any family-style serving.
Seek out your local restaurant establishment and these great tasty dishes, your taste buds will thank you!