Asia is known for having some of the best food in the world. Whether you prefer spicy Malaysian curry, healthy Thai salads, or flavourful Vietnamese noodles, this region has something for everyone. Trade and migration between countries, as well as the cultural influences of colonialism, have created many foods that combine the best of both worlds. This list is made up of tried and tested classics that have become such a big part of their country’s culinary culture, that it is easy to forget their mixed heritage. We hope you enjoy these Top 5 Best Fusion Foods in Asia.
1. Singaporean Laksa
Singapore is famed for its huge variety of food, representing culinary traditions from all over Asia. It is one of the most multiethnic places in the world with a population made up of descendants of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and European immigrants. At the famous hawker markets you can find one of the most iconic examples of Chinese and Malay fusion foods. The Singaporean Laksa is reminiscent of Chinese rice noodles, but includes Southeast Asian flavours such as spicy curry and sweet coconut milk.
2. Vietnamese Banh Mi
There are few foods as versatile as the sandwich. The thousands of regional variations, with their myriad of fillings and condiments, means that nearly every country has its own take on this favourite lunch-time treat. Among such distinguished company, the Vietnamese banh mi stands out with its use of Asian flavours such as fresh herbs and marinated grilled meats. The bread is similar to a French baguette, but is made from rice and wheat flour, giving it an airy texture as well as a very thin and crispy crust. Among other French inspired ingredients, it often contains a generous layer of paté.
3. Indonesian Perkedel
This spicy meatball has its origins in the mixing of Indonesian and European food culture. The word “perkedel” is derived from the Dutch word “frikadelle” which is a type of meatball also popular in Denmark and Germany. The perkedel is much more flavourful than its European cousin, containing such diverse ingredients as mashed potatoes, spring onion, white pepper, chili and sometimes shrimp or tofu. Deep fried and crispy, the perkedel makes a perfect snack or side dish.
4. Thai American Fried Rice
Many backpackers will be able to testify to the curative properties of “American Fried Rice”, especially after a long night of drinking in Bangkok. This dish consists of classic Thai fried rice accompanied by typically American foods such as fried chicken, hotdogs, fried eggs, crispy bacon and ham. It sometimes also includes raisins and pineapple. The combination might seem strange to some, but this backpacker breakfast has become so popular that it is often served at Thai restaurants throughout Asia.
5. Hong Kong Haute Cuisine
In a city where even a tiny shop selling roast duck by the side of a busy road can be awarded a Michelin star, it is no surprise that Hong Kong is a haven for foodies. Fine dining in Hong Kong is often more accessible than in many European capitals and you can enjoy a delicately plated masterpiece for a fraction of the cost compared to London or Paris. Building on French, Italian, Spanish or British gastronomy, these dishes often have an Asian influence with the addition of exotic vegetables, fruits, herbs or spices. It would not be unusual to see a dish on a Hong Kong menu with the following description: “Poached pollock with cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes, pak choi, yuzu and walnut pesto.”
We hope this list made your mouth water. If you have a favourite dish that we missed, or you would like to share your own Top 5 Best Fusion Foods in Asia, please let us know in the comments.