During our two or so weeks in Southeast Asia, I’ve had the opportunity to taste so many foods, fruits, and flavors that I dont think I ever would’ve tried if I didn’t have this experience. Some of the food we have tried has been weird, some of it has been a little smelly, but for the most part everything has been downright delicious! Trying new foods has been a really important part of integrating ourselves into the cultures of Singapore and Malaysia, while also learning about the world-famous cuisine of the area.Though some might not know this, Singapore has been praised for being a food jewel of the East. Even though I sometimes crave a good ole’ American Hamburger, I would never pass up an opportunity to eat as much as the best food on this hemisphere as I can! Here’s a taste of some of Southeast Asia’s most delectable dishes:
A Hawker Center
Hawker centers are one of the most popular spots for us, and the locals, to grab a freshly made and inexpensive meal. It’s sort of like a busy food court, usually outdoors and populated by food kiosks that sell a variety of foods from different countries or areas in Asia. Some also specialize in certain kinds of foods like fried foods or BBQ seafood. There are usually pictures of most of the dishes to help you decide between your many choices, or a persuasive stall worker can help you decide to eat at his kiosk. Here you can get a dinner meal for $10 or less, depending on your appetite!
Seafood Fried Rice
Seafood Fried Rice is exactly what is sounds like, fried rice stir fried with an assortment of seafood and egg. The variety we got at a Pasir Panjang Hawker Center has full prawns (eyeballs and all!), crab stick, and calimari.
Fried Black Carrot Cake
This dish is not the cream-cheese covered dish we’re all used to. It’s actually a mixture of eggs and fried rice flour nuggets with an interesting sauce on it. It’s very hard to explain, but it’s one of Ricky’s favorite dishes.
Laksa is a noodle soup that can be made many different ways depending on the area in Asia that the cook came from. My favorite variety is this one, which has a coconut milk based broth and a slightly spicy flavor. Some stalls at hawker centers also let you choose what you would like to have cooked in your soup in addition to noodles; up to 7 add-ins! I chose a hard-boiled egg, some fried tofu, bok choy (a local green), these tiny white mushrooms, seaweed, and two fish balls.
Tom Yam Soup
Tom Yam noodle soup is a traditionally thai dish, but like many other dishes other ethnicities have put their spin on things. Its in a spicy seafood broth and has plenty of seafood mixed in. It might be one of Dr. Glass’ favorites!
Claypot MealsClaypot Meals
Claypot meals are a popular offering in many hawker centers, and I got this Claypot Chicken dish in Kuala Lumpur. Rice, vegetables, sauce and meat is cooked in a covered clay pot over fire and then the dish is served to you in the same pot!! I don’t know what’s in the sauce but its really tasty, and the rice is nice and crispy around the edges.
Lamb Shawarma is a traditionally Middle Eastern dish, and I tried it in Kuala Lumpur on a street that had restaurants featuring foods from literally all over the world. It’s kind of like a gyro; it comes on a platter with lamb, vegetables, and sauce, and you pile that onto the flatbread that comes with the dish. The seasonings on the lamb is great!
Most of the food I have tried I really loved, and I haven’t been afraid of trying things I’ve never heard of before. However, it is a good idea to be a little bit careful about what you eat or drink when you travel or you could be stuck with a case of mild food poisoning like I experienced in Kuala Lumpur (see picture below). Stick to bottled water and fully cooked meats and you should be fine! Hope you enjoyed feasting your eyes!
P.S. – Feel free to check out my American-based food blog La Vita Sweeter!