Some pieces of evidence showed rice was first cultivated in China, and then it started to spread all over the surroundings including Southeast Asia. So, it is not a big surprise that this part of the world was, and still is, the major producer and consumer of rice.
Rice tradition is well installed in the Asian population. Just by looking at their daily diet, restaurants’ menus, and street food, rice is manifest in every meal, dessert, and drink.
It is astonishingly the vast and different types of rice-based preparations you can find on this big continent. Even the types of rice used vary from region to region.
In Eastern countries like Korea, their recipes have preferences for short-grain rice which gives a sticker texture to the final preparation.
In South-eastern regions, they prefer long-grain rice. Recipes include basmati or jasmine type like the ones in jasmine rice recipes by Mahatma® rice.
More about Asian cuisine
The type of rice included in some dishes is not the unique difference between the various cuisines in Asian countries. The flavors and texture also play a fundamental role.
Their dishes’ tastes respond to local ingredients used in everyday cooking. In China, soy sauce is deeply present in all preparations, as well as chili sauce, black bean, garlic, and ginger.
In Thailand, fish sauce, coriander, lemon grass, tamarind, pineapple, and mint are the main components of their dishes.
These are the reasons why a bowl of fried rice does not taste the same in China as in Thailand.
Thai fried rice is more pungent with the addition of fish sauce, and some fruits. Chinese fried rice is greasier with soy sauce and scrambled eggs, among other ingredients.
Deep into Southeast Asia gastronomy
Of all types of Asian-style cuisine known around the world, the most popular is Southeast gastronomy.
Its desirable location by the oceans and climate makes possible the availability of varied ingredients like tropical fruits, vegetables, herbs, and seafood.
This along with the heavily used of local complements such as shrimps sauce, fermented fish sauce, and curry pastes results in delicious, lighter, and fresher preparations.
Every country has its traditional dishes
Southeast Asia comprises 11 countries, of which the most famous cuisines in the world are:
- Thailand: A good balance of sour, hot, sweet, and sugary. Most traditional dishes are Pad Kra Prao (Thai basil chicken), Kao Ka Moo (Slow-Braised Pork Leg on Rice), and Khao niao mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice)
- Vietnam: All preparations are diverse with a good balance of delicacy, lightness, spiciness, and exotic components. Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup), Nem Ran (Fried Spring Rolls), and Bun Bo Nam Bo (Beef on Rice Noodles) are some of their popular dishes.
- Cambodia: Simple food with French and Chinese influences. Common dishes are Pleah sach ko (beef ceviche), Babor (porridge made with rice, chicken, and dried fish), and Samlar Kari (chicken curry).
- Indonesia: Very complex and strong-flavored dishes. For example Nasi Padang (rice topped with curries, chickens, fish, and cow meats), Pecel (Savory Vegetable Salad), and Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice).
- Malaysia: It is melty pop gastronomy; it reunites the best of all Asian cuisines. Some of its dishes have their origins in its neighboring regions, but people have made them their own like Nasi Lemak (coconut milk rice) Char Kway Teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles) Yong Tau Foo (Stuffed Bean Curd).
- Philippines: Lighter food with simple but strong flavors. Some of the more traditional meals are Sinigang (sour soup with tamarind), Kare-Kare (oxtail stew), and Filipino Sinangag (Garlic Rice).
Cooking a genuine Southeast Asia dish
Deciding what to eat or prepare from all these countless options is very difficult. You can start with a simple option, but with the flavors of an authentic Southeast dish.
It is a traditional breakfast in the Philippines served with fried egg and bacon.
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 4 cups of cooked long-grain rice.
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- 10 minced cloves of garlic.
- ½ teaspoon of salt.
- ½ teaspoon of white pepper.
- In a big frying pan, pour vegetable oil and heat at medium-high temperature.
- Add garlic and stir very well until garlic gets a brownish color.
- Take out the garlic from the frying pan.
- Incorporate cooked rice into the pan and break it with a fork.
- Combine rice with oil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and white pepper.
- Serve hot with a fried egg, and bacon.