The foods of SE Asia

Onto a lighter and tastier topic: The interesting/good foods I’ve had occasion to enjoy during my trip.
Fruits are in season, including mangoes, pineapples, dragonfruit,watermelon, and all are delectably sweet. The fruit shakes made here with Mango and Pineapple are particularly good, though the hotel served me a fruit shake this am that looked like papaya and tasted like cucumber. Locals also eat unripened guavas or mangoes with a chili salt for dipping–rather like a jicama or granny smith apple with chili salt, but a good way to break a sweat and get you to drink more water.
Veggies and herbs are plentiful and fresh–a local favorite is Morning Glory, which is great stir-fried with garlic and sesame oil. Pumpkin is used as a dessert, caramelized and very sweet.
The French influence is still present in Cambodia and Vietnam, where the baguettes are just as crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside as you’d find in Paris.
Had a wonderful BBQ pork sandwich in a baguette–pork grilled right in front of you, so no flies get on it. Served in a crusty baguette with mint, cucumber, carrot, onion.
Soups are a speciality here–the best meal of the cooking class was sweet and sour soup, which featured fresh pineapple, pepper, and chicken. Tom Yum Soup with luscious coconut milk and mushrooms. The Vietnamese soup here is Pho (“fer”), which is beef noodle soup–had a bowl at a restaurant where Bill Clinton had a bowl (that wasn’t why I stopped there, but it figures if a VIP eats somewhere, the food must be good). Had a rich beef broth scented with star anise. At the same place had one of the best chicken curries I’ve ever had, with a crunchy baguette.
Banana pancakes are ever present, and I enjoyed some one day that were served with chocolate sauce. Who says you can’t have chocolate for breakfast (or “Brekkie”, as the Australians call it)? Also have enjoyed stir-fried noodles with veggies for brekkie, and have sampled rice porridge, or congee as well (tho that’s more Chinese than Viet or Cambodian specialty).
The coffees here are strong and flavorful, typically served with condensed milk (hopefully not from China). Lotus tea is a licorice-flavored refreshing drink, as is fresh lime juice (great in the heat!). I’ve tried a few local beers on my travels as well–I particularly liked Anchor (pronounced “Ann-Chore”), but Saigon Beer is OK. I hear Biere Larue is good, so I’ll have to have some, too.
I think I need to eat now.

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