8 essential Street Food dishes you need to try when traveling Southeast Asia
I have two crazy friends: Marjorie and Lisa. They were fighting like always do. Lisa said that the best thing in life is eating. Feel the savors, the fragrances, the textures. Marjorie said that was dumb because the best pleasure comes from travelling, seeing magical places, meeting different people, living some freak adventures and keep moving. This discussion was going and going until I realize that both of them had their point. The best thing in life is eating … while you are traveling. Months later we decided to travel to an exciting and exotic continent and try the local food. Here are our eight essential Asian Street Food dishes to die for:
Street Food #1: Som Tam, Laos
You can get in a tuk tuk in Luang Prabang and go to the central market to taste Som Tam. It is a divine, citric and spicy salad made with papaya, beans, chili and lemon. It is very light, very vegan and it feels like a flavor bomb in your tongue. Order bottled water with it because it can get very spicy!
Street Food #2: Lao Nem, Laos
This delicious dish you can also find in the streets of Laos. It is a plate with rice, pork, coconut and fish sauce. It sounds weird but Liza had two portions of it. You have to know that Laos cuisine has a French influence, which makes its dishes very exquisite.
Street Food #3: Jim Jum, Thailand
Did you know that is common in Thailand to take the spoon in the right and the fork in the left hand and put the food on to the spoon with the fork? That is rare for us but is something to remember. Jim Jum is a soup which is enriched by adding seafood, fish, vegetables, noodles and eggs. It is served in a big pot and you can add more healthy vegetables and meat as you are eating. It is tasty. Marjorie ate this dish two nights in a row.
Street Food #4: Paid Thai, Thailand
It is a sautéed dish made of noodles, eggs, fish sauce, tamarind sauce, red pepper and its base can be shrimp, chicken or tofu. It also contains coriander, peanuts and lime which adds a unique flavor to this dish. Remember, it is rare see a knife on a Thai table… all the food is already chopped.
Street Food #5: Laksa. Malaysia
There are many ways to make a noodle soup in Malaysia, but my favorite is this one: noodles with coconut milk infused with tamarind, shrimp, chicken strips, bean sprouts, coriander and lemon juice named Calamansi. It is a fruit typically grown in Southeast Asia. Do you want a good advice of getting along well in Malaysia? Remember this: The index finger of the right hand is not used to mark places, objects or people. Instead, the thumb of the right hand is preferably used with the four fingers folded down. So, practice that, be nice!
Street Food #6: Roti Canai. Malaysia
Delicious as heaven, this is the Malayan hotcake. It is a type of Indian bread served with dhal - a lentil sauce - and other types of curry. It is eaten by hand and is ideal for breakfast or as an evening snack. The sweet and salty flavor will make your stomach awake! A little tip: If you want to adopt the Malayan traditions, try to use your right hand for eating and the left to take objects. That is the way they like it!
Street Food #7: Sate. Indonesia
This dish has pieces of meat placed on a bamboo skewer or coconut thorns, which are grilled on coals. Turmeric is used to marinate the pieces of meat of the Sate and the meats used are veal, pork, venison, fish, shrimps, chicken, even crocodile and snake are used. It can be served already slightly spiced with a dipping sauce made with peanut, sliced onions. This dish is an absolute must-try when traveling to Indonesia. It is considered as one of the most popular dishes in Indonesian streets.
Street Food #8: Teh Tarik of Malaysia and the Almonds cookies of Macau
If you are a sugar lover (like me) you are going to die for these particulars delicious things. The Teh Tarik is a kind of black tea with condensed milk and ginger and the almond cookies of Macau are so great and incredible that you can find them in every Chinatown in the whole world. But be careful - they are really addictive. I like to eat these two heavenly things together, so accept this challenge and gather these bad boys.
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