More often than not, I find myself missing the sights, sounds and especially the tastes of southeast Asia and Hong Kong, where my family originally hail from. It really isn’t just about the food, but it’s about the way it’s eaten – often outside with friends, in a roadside shack or in the wet markets of Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Vientiane, Kuala Lumpur, a massive and loud-as-an-AC/DC concert resto in Hong Kong, and whatever little island in Indonesia we happened to be on. The cities and the venues can be so incredibly loud and in your face and you can’t help but notice everything that is happening around you. The food is cooked right in front of you, with the bangs, animal sounds, torrent of voices and smells of the market around you, or the growl of traffic next to you. And then there’s the chef herself (or himself if it’s about grilled meats)…who is often either a choice of surly with an accompaniment of grumbling, extremely cheerful and happy to see you, or nonchalance to the point that it’s not like your there. Always an extreme and never a dull moment. Oh and of course, then there’s finally the meal. Simply delish and full of flavours just as extreme as the personalities and diverse cultures that fused together to create them. Sweet, sour, spicy…and always inducing a smile! All washed down with a glass of iced coffee with condensed milk. Now that is perfection.
Despite being thousands of kilometers from all the tasty hub-bub, at least I have my favourite southeast Asian food blogs.
EatingAsia is by far the best. Food and travel writer Robyn Eckhardt and her super-talented hubby David Hagerman create amazing travel stories and photographs together about their life in Malaysia and their travels to study food across the continent. If you’re planning a trip to southeast and east Asia – they are a wealth of information about where to eat – from Yunnan, China to Yogyakarta, Indonesia – they’ve covered and snapped it all up!
And Saveur Magazine just named Nyam Penh as one of their top global food blogs! It’s such a clever title – nyam means “eat” in Khmer. I’m not quite sure who writes it, but if you’re ever in Phnom Penh and looking for some great eats of both local and high-end fusion flavours, definitely check out Nyam Penh – they’ve definitely got the goods on this ever-changing food landscape.