We spent 10 days in Southeast Asia with stops in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In between beaches, massages (our preferred method of avoiding rising 90° mid-afternoon heat), elephants and more beaches, I found time to try the food. Here are some highlights:
Singapore is a heavily fusion-ized city-state, and you can find food from all over the world here. Luckily for us, we met up with a college friend who lives in Singapore. I confess, I had no idea what Singaporean food meant or what to expect, so with her as our guide, we tried a local favorite, signature Singaporean dish–chili crab (pictured in feature photo)! The results was delicious: steamed crab with lots of sweet and spicy chili sauce and a side dish of stir-fried morning glories, which are popular in Thailand, too.
My favorite of the three for flavorful, comforting, and cheap food. I love Thai food in general, so eating here was a real treat. The best meal I had was pork leg at a street stall we stumbled upon while we wandered around Phuket. The place was packed with locals and served only one dish – a sure sign of success. Another favorite is the fresh coconuts. After a hot morning at the beach or on tour, coconut water is a big help for cooling down and re-hydrating. The soft, chewy coconut meat took me a while to get used to, since I’ve only ever tried dried coconut flakes, but it grew on me and I began to seek it out by the end of our time in Thailand.
On an elephant trek, our tour guides gave us fresh local fruits: oranges, round, sweet longan (similar to lychees), rose apples, and purple dragon fruit; and sweet snacks from the local morning market, made to order: fried dough or steamed sticky rice, both in coconut milk, and wrapped in banana leaves.
And then there were the Thai staples: seafood fried rice served in a pineapple, pad Thai, pad see ew (locally called fried wide noodles) and khao soi, a signature soup noodle dish from Northern Thailand.
While on the beaches of Thailand, I enjoyed delicious seafood, the best of which was the fresh fish in sweet chili sauce. Eggs are a cheap protein, so you’ll find a lot in Thai food. Eggs are commonly sold in markets, and they’re very fresh. While in Rome, I ordered an omelette!
I spent most of my time in Vietnam on a cruise ship in Halong Bay, so the food we had was Western-style seafood. Very delicious, but I won’t feature it here. The chef does deserve extra kudos, however, for his carving skills.
The best things I had in Vietnam was again, the street food! We just followed the crowds, and voila – ended up trying delicious pork noodle soup and beef pho in modest street shops à la former US President Barrack Obama and late Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain.
Feature photo courtesy of Momma Kong’s
A foodie in perpetual wanderlust, Rose makes it a mission to sample the best ugly delicious delights around the world, but also enjoys the occasional dress-code-required fare and is always ready for a spot of afternoon tea. Currently based in the Boston area, she has been writing for GMF since 2013 and called DC, NYC, and Mexico City home. Rose is a graduate of the University of Virginia and New York University, and is on the board of the University of Virginia’s Asian and Asian Pacific American Alumni Network as well as the Thomas Jefferson Partnership Fund, which supports the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. She pays her bills by helping companies communicate with Wall Street as an investor relations professional.