The sauce of life in Asia boils down to its food. The cuisines of Asia are deeply rooted in history and traditions that have evolved over millennia, many of which are passed down through generations.
With a heavy focus on regionally grown and sourced ingredients and spices, Asia’s cuisine reflects the vibrancy, energy and diversity of the region – a mishmash of salty, spicy, sweet and tart flavours that pull in all directions and still linger on after the last bite.
Be in for a treat with this delectable selection of 12 dishes that make up a fair portion of Asian cuisine.
1. Mas Huni, Maldives – Made mainly from grated coconut and tuna, this typical Maldivian breakfast goes best with freshly baked chapatti, a type of flatbread.
2. Bajiyaa, Maldives – This savoury snack is popular among the locals. Made in a similar way as a dumpling, its filling is replaced with tuna, potato or both, where it is then fried until a crispy golden brown.
3. Chicken Rice, Singapore – Authentic Hainanese chicken rice is a must-try when visiting this food haven. The fragrant rice topped with either steamed or roasted chicken is usually accompanied by a minced chilli and garlic sauce.
4. Hawker Food, Penang – There is no better local cuisine than those found along the streets of Penang. Sellers dish out plate after plate of hot and piping char kuay teow, a stir-fried noodle dish with cockles, among other favourites.
5. Fresh Oysters, Pattaya – One of the benefits of being a coastal city is definitely the variety of fresh seafood available. Be sure not to miss out on their succulent oysters, which are an absolute delight to one’s palate.
6. Nasi Lemak, Kuala Lumpur – Head over to Warung Nasi Lemak Pak Hassan, a popular eatery in Kampong Baru. It draws the crowds for its nasi lemak – rice cooked with coconut milk commonly served with sambal and ikan bilis – and roti canai.
7. Chendol, Melaka – This traditional shaved ice dessert is made from coconut milk, green starch jelly and pandan flavouring. The creamy and refreshing texture makes it perfect as a teatime snack to cool down in the hot tropical weather.
8. Bebek Bengil, Bali – Also known as crispy duck, The duck is steamed in Indonesian spices, and then deep-fried to attain its signature crispy golden crust.
9. Peranakan Food, Singapore, Melaka & Penang – Peranakan food boasts a delectable fusion of both Chinese and Malay cuisines, as reflected by its culture. Indulge in the robust ayam buah keluak, a chicken dish with spices and black nuts or nyonya kueh, sweet and sticky desserts typically made with glutinous rice and coconut milk.
10. Durian, Malaysia & Thailand – Known as the ‘king of fruits’, this green, spiky fruit is ubiquitous in Southeast Asian countries. The bittersweet taste of its delicious, creamy flesh is the reward for many who aren’t put off by its pungent smell.
11. Bean Sprouts Chicken, Ipoh – Similar to Singapore’s chicken rice, this Malaysian version comes with a generous helping of crunchy bean sprouts. The tender steamed chicken is dosed with soy sauce and oil, making for a light and tasty meal.
12. White Coffee, Ipoh – This Malaysian city is famous for their unique twist on this universal drink. Made purely from coffee beans, Ipoh coffee boasts an absence of any kind of additives during the roasting process, resulting in an intensely aromatic, lightly coloured brew usually served with condensed milk.