You can’t help but notice the irresistible smell of grilled meat just meters away from you on the sidewalk. The sound and smell of stir fried rice catches your attention and salivates your mouth like Pavlov’s dog. The distinctive sound of spice being mixed together in the mortar and pestle does its job seeking your attention. Even the noodle soup vendor nearby draws your attention. Maybe some fruits or ice cream for dessert? You are spoiled for choice. Where should I go? What should I eat? Welcome to the wonderful and tasty world of Southeast Asia street vendor food.
Sometimes, there isn’t anything as genuine as having roadside or street vendor food. Why is that? The taste is authentic to begin with. The spice isn’t lowered to suit western tastes (unless you personally request it), the ingredients are local and the environment is as Southeast Asian as it can be. The cook or vendor quickly whips up the meal right in front of your eyes, allowing you to see the ingredients used, and perhaps steal their methods and recipes for your try at Southeast Asian cooking when you get back home. See little children run up and down the street, motorcycle drivers hanging out or families enjoy fast food together – this is pure Southeast Asian scenery.
After the dish arrives at your table, you will have the final say in determining its flavor before it enters your mouth. Almost every food stall vendor comes equipped with a variety of condiments. There’s fish sauce, chilies, sugar, garlic, grounded nuts, lime and all kinds of condiments on the table, ready to flavor your meal just the way you like it.
How about vegetarians? There is always an alternative. Don’t want meat? Request for tofu or vegetarian balls instead. Don’t want fish sauce? Try local soy sauce. And no worries, almost every store will have an abundance of vegetables, ensuring that vegetarians are catered for.
So, you take a bite. Ask for a piece of tissue not only because of the tantalizing mix of zesty flavors brings out a sweat, but also because of the sweltering heat. Perhaps a sip of cold soda or water will ease things a little. But you soldier on amidst the bustling Southeast Asian sidewalk scenery because the food is just way too irresistible and the experience is purely genuine.
Food is one of the main draws for the region. Combine that with some of the world’s finest temples, beaches and locals and you’re in for the most memorable experience of your life. Try it, via our Southeast Asian tours
Or if you’re here purely for the eats, why not try one of our Culinary Journeys?
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