Taste of Vietnam
Vietnam's stunning landscapes, along with its culinary heritage is a breathtaking country to behold. Known for the creative combination of the five fundamental taste elements - spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet - there is more to Vietnam than just pretty beaches and great markets. The strong and zesty flavours are essential elements of the Vietnamese culture and no trip to Vietnam is complete without trying these five quintessentially Vietnamese dishes.
A staple dish, consisting of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef, pho features predominately in the local diet -- and understandably so. It's cheap, tasty, and available everywhere at all times of the day in Vietnamese restaurants or from street vendors.
2. Gỏi cuốn
Soft vermicelli summer rolls that are light and healthy, fresh spring rolls are a refreshing change from the fried food that abounds in Vietnam. The rolls are packed with salad greens, a slice of meat or seafood and a layer of coriander and are dipped into Vietnam's famous fish sauce. They are typically eaten in a home setting but are also popular appetisers in Vietnamese restaurants
3. Banh mi
The baguette may be French but this roll is unmistakably Vietnamese. The crispy bread is filled with fresh greens, paté and other fillings of choice such as carrot, chilli or even cheese. This roll is so good that it has been recreated around the world. In Vietnam, you will often find these being sold on the streets as a snack.
4. Banh xeo
A crispy crêpe overflowing with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, with a garnish of fresh herbs, this dish combines many of the most common Vietnamese ingredients.
To enjoy one like a local, cut it into manageable slices, roll it up in rice paper or lettuce leaves and dunk it in whatever special sauce the chef has mixed up for you. Commonly found on street corners or in the mist of food markets, Banh xeo is a must-try.
5. Bot chien
Saigon's favourite street snack, bot chien, is a both a popular after school snack for students and a late night pick me up for party goers. Chunks of rice flour dough are fried in a large wok until crispy and then an egg is added to the mix. Once cooked, it's served with slices of crisp papaya, shallots and green onions, and for more flavour, pickled chili sauce and rice vinegar is added.
To get some of these authentic flavours without heading to the streets of Vietnam, be sure to check out or range of Vietnamese products. Try out our Vietnamese Lemongrass Marinade
or Vietnamese Pho
. Bring the taste of Vietnam to your house tonight.
A Guide to Singaporean Cuisine
Singapore is a country with a wide range of cultural influences due to its rich and diverse history. While Colonial influences have introduced a taste for western dishes, the cuisine is primarily made up of a fusion of flavours from China, India and Malaysia. The population of Singapore is 74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indian and 3% Eurasian, making the country a cultural melting pot. This diverse population has given birth to brand new food cultures and delicious adaptations of classic dishes.
Essential Base Ingredients
Although most Asian countries tend to favour either rice or noodles, Singapore embraces both. Noodles are commonly eaten either stir fried or as part of a soup, like in the famous Laksa. Rice dishes, which generally are Chinese or Indian inspired, usually consist of meat served on top of a bed of rice. This could be a biryani topped with a rich curry sauce or Singapore's famous Hainanese chicken rice with steamed chicken served on a bed of white rice. Seafood is also an essential part of Singaporean cuisine and while Singapore Chilli Crab is perhaps Singapore's most famous seafood dish, prawns are a much more common seafood staple.
Singapore has an abundance of delicious, tropical fruits which are enjoyed in a variety of forms; blended into a smoothie, mixed into a dessert or simply eaten straight. Calamansi limes are used to season savoury dishes in order to add a tangy citrus note. Coconut is also used widely in savoury dishes such as laksa and cendol to add flavour and a creamy texture.
Snacking fruits include mangosteen, lychee, spiky rambutan, and the deliriously sweet longan and sugar cane. The Durian is also a very popular fruit in Singapore, although its strong custardy flavour can be overwhelming to many foreigners.
Singapore has a very hot climate, making chilled drinks a favourite. Kopi is a Singapore-style coffee that can be served hot or cold and is heavily sweetened with condensed milk. Another well-loved sweet Singaporean beverage is Bandung, which is a bright pink mixture of milk and rose cordial syrup. Hand pressed sugar cane juice is also commonly found at hawker stalls. For alcohol, as in many Asian countries, beer is a staple. Tiger beer is Singapore's official beer and is widely available, from the hawker centre to high class bars. Singapore's famous Singapore sling, a mixture of gin, cherry brandy, pineapple juice and bitters can also be found in bars and restaurants throughout Singapore.
Indian Curry Vs Thai Curry: What's the Difference?
The word curry originates from the 'kari' leaf which is an ingredient found in many Indian curries. However it has come to describe a wide range of dishes from diverse cultures and it can often be difficult to know what is meant by the word curry. So if you're craving a curry but you're not sure whether to choose a Vindaloo or a Kaang Daeng, find out the fundamental differences between Thai and Indian curries before making up your mind.
As India and Thailand have very distinct cuisines, they also have very different flavours which make up the base of many of their dishes. Thai curries usually start with a paste containing chillis, lemongrass, galangal root, garlic and shrimp paste. An Indian curry on the other hand, starts with a base of onions, garlic and ginger which are browned before adding a spice mix which is unique to each curry.
Indian curries are usually much thicker than Thai curries, as a result of the thickening ingredients commonly used in Indian cuisine such as onion, tomato and potato. Thai curries are usually much thinner, similar in consistency to soup.
Most Thai curries contain coconut milk whereas India curries generally add just a little water to moisten the curry.
Meat and Vegetable Content
Indian curries are usually either exclusively a single type of meat or exclusively vegetables, the two are rarely mixed together in one dish. Thai curries however usually contain a combination of both meat and vegetables.
While there are a few significant differences between the two, both Thai and Indian curries are delicious healthy meals that can be mastered be even the least experiences cooks. At Asian Home Gourmet, our range
of Indian and Thai curry pastes makes it quick and easy to create your own curry at home.