Southeast Asia is world-famous for its mouthwatering cuisine, and for good reason. Come and explore these extraordinary flavors by eating your way through our list of the 30 best dishes that this region has to offer.
1. Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup), Thailand
Tom yum goong, an iconic, must-try Thai soup, is as popular as Thailand itself is among travelers. This clear soup, with shrimp as the main ingredient, combines quintessential Thai ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, fresh chilies (or chili paste), shallots, lime juice, and juicy shrimp.
If you can't handle spicy food, ask for a "mild" version.
2. Pad Thai (Thai-Style Fried Noodles), Thailand
Pad Thai is one of Thailand's national dishes. It can be found on almost every street corner; it is available in noisy street stalls and Michelin-starred restaurants alike. It is a fried noodle dish which is usually made with shrimp or chicken, crunchy bean sprouts, eggs, onion, and finely grated peanuts. Travelers around the world relish its sweet and sour flavor.
3. Guay Tiew Reua (Noodle Soup), Thailand
Noodle soup is arguably one of Thailand's most popular dishes. Guay tiew reua includes any type of noodle soup, of which there are many varieties. It can be made with chicken, pork, beef, seafood, or vegetables. The dish is topped with sugar, dried chili peppers, lime juice, and fish sauce.
Seeing Bangkok with ease
In Bangkok, our tour guide, Ying, was wonderful. She navigated all the sights with ease, gave us interesting tidbits on Thai culture and history, helped us pick the right food at all the restaurants, and was just a pleasure to be around. We had a great time, and it was so nice to not have to worry about any of the details.More
Diane Elkins, Nov 2023
Thailand -insights, no stress and amazing team
My husband and my Thailand trip was fantastic, stress-free and educational thanks to the amazing team coordinated by Albee at Asia Highlights. The whole team was incredibly accessible, responsive, sensitive to our needs and lovely to work with. End-to-end, the trip was truly remarkable and the knowledgeable and dynamic tour guides and drivers made it especially memorable!More
AndrewsFamily, Oct 2023
Informative & Thorough / Thanks Sharon!
Sharon the advisor that helped me was so thorough & informative and explained the details of the tour including questions about visas and what is included vs what is not included in the tour packages. I would recommend them to explain tour packages that would fit the schedule of your pending travels.More
Chris, Sep 2023
Easy, fast responses
I worked directly with Monica in Asia Highlights. She was incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions quickly. Working with her made the whole process easy and we are so excited for our trip!More
Diana B, Sep 2023
Stress free Thailand
Alisa has organised our 14 day Thailand holiday for 2024 for my family & I. She has been very accommodating & super quick with all of our requests & we cannot wait for a stress free holiday! Thank you Alisa!More
Alana Mitchell, Sep 2023
Family Trip to Thailand-Cambodia
All of our guides were very nice and knowledgeable, but we have a special mention to our guide in Cambodia, Chan, he was very kind with us and it was very amusing. He went the extra mile for us. We really enjoyed our holidays!More
José Antonio Carrillo de la Pl, Sep 2023
Asia Highlights and Sharon
Asia Highlights, specifically Sharon, has been wonderfully helpful as we get ready for a 2024 excursion to Thailand. We are beyond excited, and much of that has to do with the personalized attention that we have experienced with Sharon. She has been extremely responsive, obliging, and focused as she helped us design a tailor made itinerary. All of our questions have been addressed, our needs have been met, and the path has now been set for a very exciting trip.... thanks to Sharon.More
Marcy Hoenig, Sep 2023
I was planning a trip to Thailand to…
I was planning a trip to Thailand to especially see the Lantern Festival this year for our birthdays!! It’s been on our bucket list, but we were completely lost on how to go about planning for our trip. We’ve never really booked tours before but Alisa was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, flexible and efficient in providing all the information we needed to make our decision on the best tours and tickets to purchase. Thank you so much!!More
https://www.trustpilot.com/reviews/64d9a5a4657e4b39f768a21e, Aug 2023
I would definitely recommend Asia…
All of our guides were wonderful (Mr. Bank - Bangkok and Ms. Kai in Phuket & Khao Sok plus antoher guide who assisted in Koh Samui). Sharon took care of tours, private drivers, flights and hotels within Thailand and our trip went off without a hitch. The hotels were great and the transportation always arrived on time and with a clean,More
Guinevere Provance, Aug 2023
WOW! I’ve traveled Asia some & I must say Sharon & Asia Highlights made this trip so much more enjoyable and easyMore
Stephen Hollis, Aug 2023
Alisa has has been great to work with
Alisa with Asia Highlights has has been great to work with. Very friendly and responsive.More
Ana Rausch, Aug 2023
Using Sharon right now to book our…
Using Sharon right now to book our upcoming trip to Thailand. She has booked everything that we asked for. Has answered all of my inquiries, which has been many! Looking forward to having a great girls trip in ThailandMore
Tracy, Aug 2023
Thailand, Singapore, Bali
In Thailand, Tanny and Nori(Suparp), were both incredible! They were both fun, funny, and full of knowledge and made sure we got the full experience. They went the extra mile and always made sure we had cold bottled water and towels to cleanse our hands. In Singapore, Nicole was an absolute gem. She was so kind and knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction to make our day as enjoyable as possible. She helped us choose a top notch local lunch and coffee spot in China Town and taught us so much about the country! In Bali, Emon was an absolute joy. He was very knowledgeable and kind and absolutely made sure we were feeling comfortable and was willing to be flexible with us. He was fun to converse with and made our time traveling between destinations so enjoyable! I cannot recommend Asia Highlights enough! Accommodations, travel arrangements and guided tours were all a breeze.More
Cassi Thunker, Jul 2023
Very supportive ! I have received eticket for Sky Lattern Festival very fastMore
Chi?n Nguy?n Ng?c, Jul 2023
My experience in Chang Mai with Asia Highlights
I greatly enjoyed my experience with Asia Highlights for a trip I booked to Thailand.All of my interests were catered too. My guide in Chang Mai Gemma was excellent.I truly felt the soul of Thailand culture and Buddhism.More
Richard, Jul 2023
A pleasure to plan with
Well, this has been a painless and pleasurable process to find such a wonderful company. I had specific dates and places to be and Sharon worked with me diligently to refine the schedule and costs to suit my travel needs and budget. She informed me of a special tour on the dates I am to be in Thailand and I added that to my previous plans.More
Chris Williams, Jul 2023
Large multi-generational holiday in Thailand
The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
CL, Jul 2023
I never used a travel agent in my life
I never used a travel agent in my life, but Sharon for Asia Highlights did a phenomenal job helping planning and coordination a family vacation. The best part of working with Sharon was that she maintained an open line of communication and provided answers to my question well within 12-24 hours. Additionally, Sharon was flexible and customized our vacation to my families needs. Overall great experience.More
Antione Barry, Jul 2023
Great company to plan a trip to Southeast Asia!
Sharon Haung has been wonderful to work with! Very patient and accommodating. Responds immediately given time change and is prepared, prompt, and professional.More
Debi Hinerfeld, Jul 2023
We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
SIMO el ghobar, Jun 2023
4. Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Coconut Soup), Thailand
If you love coconut milk, make sure you don't miss out on tom kha gai in Thailand. It is an authentic Thai soup known for its intense galangal, coconut, and aromatic flavors. As the name implies, the base of any tom kha gai is coconut milk. It is usually seasoned with Thai ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, and galangal root.
5. Kao Pad (Thai Fried Rice), Thailand
Kao pad, also known as Thai fried rice, is a famous rice dish from Thailand, which is commonly made by street vendors and fine-dining restaurants alike. It is typically served with shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef, and seasoned with Thai chilies, fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice.
6. Khao Pad Sapparod (Pineapple Fried Rice), Thailand
Khao pad sapparod is a Thai fried rice dish made with pineapple. It is a quick, healthy, easy, and delicious meal. It is made with shrimp, pineapple, carrots, onions, and curry. Chicken can replace the shrimp, or both can be omitted to make the meal vegetarian.
7. Pho (Noodle Soup), Vietnam
Your trip to Vietnam is not complete without tasting pho, which is a traditional Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, noodles, chicken or beef, and fresh herbs. To complete the dish, you can add chili, lime, and hoisin sauce. Pho is traditionally eaten for breakfast and favored by almost all locals and travelers.
8. Bun Cha (Vietnamese Meatballs), Vietnam
If you visit Hanoi, don't miss out on bun cha. It is a specialty of Hanoi but can be found in other northern cities as well. Bun cha is made of pork meatballs, vermicelli noodles, and plenty of refreshing herbs. It is served with a traditional lime and fish dipping sauce.
9. Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich), Vietnam
If you're in need of a quick meal, try the banh mi, which is a Vietnamese sandwich. Banh mi looks like a French-style baguette. It is typically stuffed with pork belly, fish cakes, meatballs, and the quintessential pickled carrots, daikon, and chilies. This Vietnamese sandwich has been consistently ranked among the world's best sandwiches.
10. Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Rolls), Vietnam
Goi cuon (Vietnamese spring roll) literally means "salad rolls." Unlike fried Vietnamese spring rolls, these fresh rolls are not fried and are served cold. This is a fresh and healthy dish, consisting of thin rice vermicelli noodles, shrimp, pork, and an assortment of vegetables rolled in rice paper.
11. Banh Xeo (Crispy Pancake), Vietnam
Banh xeo is a Vietnamese savory fried pancake. It is made of rice flour, turmeric, and coconut cream, along with other ingredients. The filling includes pork, shrimp, diced green onions, mung beans, and bean sprouts.
This dish is available at most roadside stalls, local markets, and restaurants. To dine like a local, cut it into small pieces, roll it in rice paper or lettuce leaves, and dip it in a special sauce.
12. Nasi Kerabu (Blue Herb Rice), Malaysia
Nasi kerabu is a blue-colored rice. Don't let the bright color put you off: it comes from the petals of a local flower. This dish is traditionally served with fried chicken, salted egg, fresh herbs, fish crackers, spiced sauce, and fried keropok ('crackers').
13. Asam Laksa (Spicy and Sour Fish Noodle Soup), Malaysia
Asam laksa is a flavorful, tangy, and spicy Malaysian rice noodle soup. It is made with fish, tamarind, and torch ginger flower, and seasoned with fresh pineapple, cucumber, red onion, and shrimp molasses. It is found almost everywhere in the Penang state of Malaysia.
14. Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Tea Soup), Malaysia and Singapore
Bak kut teh is an amazing broth-based dish made with pork and multiple Chinese herbs. There are additional ingredients such as offal, varieties of mushroom, choy sum (vegetables), and tofu puffs. It is believed to have been brought from China into Malaysia in the 19th century. It can be found in Malaysia and Singapore.
15. Fish Amok (Fish Curry), Cambodia
Amok is a classic Cambodian (Khmer) dish, which is usually made with fish, although chicken and beef amok are also popular. Fish amok is made from some of the most mouthwatering ingredients, including lemongrass, chili, shallots, and coconut milk. Traditionally, it is steamed and served in a banana leaf.
16. Bai Sach Chrouk (Pork with Rice), Cambodia
Bai sach chrouk is one of Cambodia's simplest and most popular dishes. Street vendors often serve it early in the morning. Packed with the savory flavors from the marinade and the zesty flavor of pickles, this dish is extremely appealing.
The dish is made with pork, which is finely sliced and grilled. It is always served with white rice, freshly pickled cucumbers, daikon, and a bowl of chicken broth. You must definitely try this classic breakfast in Cambodia.
17. Khmer Chicken Red Curry, Cambodia
Khmer chicken red curry is a rich, flavorful curry made from chicken, coconut milk, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemongrass, and kroeung(spice paste). Beef and fish can also replace the chicken. This curry is always served with bread.
18. Khao Niaw (Sticky Rice), Laos
Khao niaw is a staple food in Laos. It is traditionally steamed and served in small bamboo baskets called lao aep khao. To eat like a local, take a handful of sticky rice in one hand and roll it into a ball. Then, break the sticky rice ball into smaller portions, dip them in the sauce, and enjoy.
19. Laap (Minced Meat Salad), Laos
Laap, also lahp or larb, is considered the national dish of Laos. It is a type of minced meat salad, made with chicken, beef, duck, fish, or pork. It is usually seasoned with fish sauce, lime juice, fermented fish juice, rice noodles, and fresh herbs.
20. Papaya Salad, Laos and Thailand
Green papaya salad is typically made with shreds of unripe papaya. It is rich in flavor: crunchy, sour, sweet, spicy, and salty. You can find this dish all over Laos and Thailand, but it is made differently in each country.
The main ingredients in the papaya salad include unripe shredded papaya, chilies, lime, garlic, tomatoes, palm sugar, and fish sauce. All these ingredients are pounded together in a traditional mortar and pestle.
21. Adobo (Meat in Vinegar), Philippines
Adobo is a popular Filipino dish which can be found everywhere in the Philippines. It is made with pork, chicken, seafood, or vegetables, which are cooked slowly in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns, and then browned to a crisp in oil. Adobo is often served with rice.
22. Kinilaw (Raw Seafood Dish), Philippines
The Philippines is surrounded by the sea. It is very common to eat fish and other seafood, and no list of Filipino food would be complete without Kinilaw.
Kinilaw literally means 'eaten raw'. It is a raw seafood dish served all over the Philippines. The main ingredient is slices of raw fish marinated in vinegar. Additional ingredients include calamansi juice, salt, pepper, and chili peppers.
23. Kare-Kare (Oxtail and Tripe Stew in Peanut Sauce), Philippines
Kare-kare is a classic Filipino dish with a subtle taste. It is made with oxtail, tripe, vegetables, and a peanut-based sauce. It is usually served with steamed rice and shrimp paste. Pampanga may be known for the best kare-kare, but you can find this dish all over the Philippines.
24. Char Kway Teow (Fried Flat Rice Noodles), Singapore and Malaysia
Char kway teow is a popular noodle dish in Southeast Asia. It is a national favorite in both, Singapore and Malaysia. The main ingredients include flat rice noodles, meat, sliced fish cakes, egg, slices of Chinese sausage, and bean sprouts. All ingredients are stir-fried over high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chili, and other spices.
It is believed that the most authentic char kway teow comes from Penang in Malaysia, where this dish is commonly served on a banana leaf. But you'll find many delicious versions in Singapore as well.
25. Chili Crab (Whole Crab in Chili Tomato Sauce), Singapore
If you want a taste of authentic Singaporean cuisine, you should not miss out on chili crab. This seafood dish is one of Singapore's national dishes. It ranks at 35 on "The World's 50 Most Delicious Foods" list, compiled by CNN Go in 2011. The stir-fried crab is coated with a sweet, savory, and spicy tomato-based sauce. It is often served with steamed or deep-fried buns.
26. Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice), Indonesia
Nasi goreng is a classic Indonesian fried rice. It is a simple dish, which locals and travelers enjoy. It differs from other kinds of fried rice because of the sauce which stains the rice dark brown. The rice is often topped with a fried egg and served with fresh cucumber and tomato.
27. Gado-Gado (Salad with Peanut Sauce), Indonesia
Gado-gado literally means "mix mix." This popular salad, consisting of lightly boiled and blanched vegetables, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried tofu and / or tempeh (deep-fried fermented soybean) cubes, and lontong (steamed rice cakes), is tossed in a peanut sauce dressing.
28. Babi Guling (Slow-Roasted Pork), Indonesia
If you are planning to visit Bali, Indonesia, don't forget to sample babi guling. Bali guling, which directly translates to "turning pig," is a spit-roasted suckling pig. The pork is tender, juicy, and imbued with garlic, ginger, and turmeric flavors that linger on the palate.
29. Mohinga (Rice Noodles in Fish Soup), Myanmar
Mohinga is considered the national dish of Myanmar. It consists of rice noodles served in a hearty, herbal, fish- and shallot-based broth, and seasoned with garlic, onion, lemongrass, and ginger. It is a must-have for breakfast in Burma.
30. Laphet Thoke (Tea Leaf Salad), Myanmar
Laphet thoke is a combination of soft, pickled tea leaves; crisp, roasted peanuts; other crunchy beans; toasted sesame seeds; and fried garlic. If you want, you can add dried shrimp and chopped tomatoes.
This salad is traditionally served in Myanmar on important occasions, such as parties, weddings, funerals, and religious ceremonies. Nowadays, it is often served as the final course, at the end of a meal.
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