…an art form in itself – a play on the taste, the visual, the smell, the texture.
Food has always been a natural attraction to us, especially the intrepid kind. Whenever we go out for our travel adventures, one of the things on our must-try list would be local gastronomic fares.
And why not? What used to be just a source of sustenance for mankind has evolved into an art form in itself – a play on the taste, the visual, the smell, the texture.
It is not surprising that with all the different ways of cooking as well as accessibility to the market, the food business has turned into a billion dollar industry. Restaurants as well as food expos are right in the heart of tourism, be it for local and foreign tourists alike.
It has long been established that one of the identifiable traits of a culture is manifested in its cuisine. The many ways of a culture’s cooking brings an abundance of stories spanning generations. One can’t find a more varied and bold sensation to the palates than in Southeast Asia.
The region has always been a literal melting pot of different cultures. From the Malays, to the Indo-Chinese, to the former Western colonizers, and indigenous traditions, Southeast Asian food culture is an amalgamation of all of these influences.
The region is mostly tropical and agricultural. Chili and other spices are a plenty. Countries in Southeast Asia incorporate spices in their daily meals. A tourist shouldn’t be surprised with the locals’ high tolerance for spicy food. And while this may be so, restaurants and other food places will still ask their patrons as to their preferred level of spiciness. Famous spiced sauces in the region are sambal and curry.
Being agricultural, rice is THE food staple. For most of Southeast Asians, a meal is not complete without rice. Fish, meat and vegetables are the side dishes to this staple. Other derivatives of rice can be seen in noodles, bread and pastries, and even alcohol.
Festivals abound in Southeast Asia. Feasts are held in the community for a bountiful harvest. Families also gather for weddings, birthdays, and even the passing away of relatives. As can be guessed, spices and rice dominate tables in these households.
The next time you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, look out for food festivals to join the fanfare and experience the unique flavors on offer.
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