Rice is the primary food of more than half of the world wide’s society. It has become the most significant source of carbohydrates. Rice is well-known among Asians and Africans. It even holds a special position on the scale priority Asian countries. Almost all of the countries in Asia have their own signature rice dish. Source : Most Popular Rice Dishes in Asia
Most Popular Southeast Asian Rice Dishes
Among all of the rice dishes, Southeast Asia has its own typical dishes. The endemic herbs and spices of Southeast Asia surely give special characteristics to the rice-based dishes. Here are the top 10 most popular Southeast Asian rice dishes:
- Bánh Bèo (Vietnam)
Bánh bèo is a steamed cake made of rice, flour, fish sauce with green chilli peppers, and either shrimps or pork. Other ingredients like noodles, roasted peanuts, or fried onions are could be added to enrich its taste.
The crucial characteristic that creates good bánh bèo is the texture of stuffing in its centre that gives the savoury taste. Even though it is well known as savoury dishes, there is also sweet bánh bèo exclusively available in Hoi An. Banh bèo is not only served as a savoury dish but also sweet. The traditional version of bánh bèo is served in a porcelain bowl with a bamboo spoon.
- Nasi Pecel (Indonesia)
Nasi pecel is ordinary rice served with various blanched vegetables such as spinach, papaya, or cassava leaves, as well as bean sprouts. The essential matter about this meal is the sauce. Sambal pecel is thick peanut sauce with a sweet and spicy flavour. Nasi pecel is served with various toppings such as bihun (rice noodle), peyek (traditional crackers), and cucumber slices alongside fried tofu or tempeh.
- Nasil Liwet (Indonesia)
Nasi liwet is a traditional dish in which the rice is cooked in coconut milk altogether with chicken broth and certain spices. It is originated from Solo, Indonesia. Traditional nasi liwet is cooked on clay pots and served on teak and banana leaves. Even though nasi liwet could be served on its own, it is usually completed with shredded chicken, sliced omelette, anchovies, tempeh and vegetables.
- Bubur Ayam (Indonesia)
Bubur ayam is an Indonesian version of a think rice porridge topped with shredded chicken and other savoury spices. It is an authentic breakfast meal in Indonesia that evolved from Chinese rice porridge.
The main steps of cooking begin with boiling the chicken on the bone pieces. Then, the broth from the boiling process is used to cook the rice. The porridge is splattered with sesame oil, soy sauce or fish sauce before it is served. Then it is topped with fried shallots, sliced scallions, crushed peanuts and chopped cilantro. Bubur ayam is a common dish in Indonesia that it can be easily found on street vendors.
- Khao Pad (Thailand)
Khao pad is stir-fried rice cooked with vegetables. The traditional version of khao pad uses jasmine rice that stir-fried with garlic, onion, and green onion. The rice is flavoured with soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and white pepper.
The important additional component for khao pad is scrambled eggs. The eggs are fried along with rice and vegetables, then mixed into the blend. Sometimes, meat, chicken or shrimp are added to the dish. Khao pad is usually accompanied by nam pla prik, a dipping sauce made of fish sauce and Thai chillis).
- Nasi Uduk (Indonesia)
Nasi uduk is rice-based dish where the rice is cooked in coconut milk and various spices such as lemongrass, cloves, pandan leaves, and cinnamon. The spices add a unique taste and typical fragrant to the rice. The rice is topped with fried shallots. Nasi uduk is served altogether with various kinds of complementary food such as noodles, eggs, tempeh, tofu, or sometimes fried chicken and fried meat. For the final touch, regular sambal (spicy Indonesian sauce) and peanut sambal may be added on its side. Even though it is believed that nasi uduk is originated in Jakarta, it can easily be found in other parts of Indonesia.
- Nasi Kuning (Indonesia)
Nasi kuning is another Indonesia rice-based dishes cooked in coconut milk. The things that differentiate it from nasi uduk are the seasonings used. Nasi kuning is seasoned with turmeric that gives the yellow colour to the rice. Indonesian rice dishes rarely served alone. For nasi kuning, it is accompanied with fried chicken, potato fritter, sliced omelette, serundeng (sweet-spicy fried coconut flakes), and sambal. According to the local tradition, nasi kuning is organized in the middle of a plate while the complimentary meals are placed surrounding the rice.
- Nasi Lemak (Malaysia)
Nasi lemak is definitely the first thing comes in our mind when we talk about the traditional dishes of Malaysia. Nasi lemak is made of rice that cooked in coconut milk. It is served with fried anchovies, fried peanuts, boiled eggs, and sliced cucumbers. Sambal (chilli paste) is added to complete the dish. At present, the additional food is evolved into various kinds such as fried chicken, fish and eggs.
At first, it was purposed as a breakfast dish, but later it becomes the national dish of Malaysian that may be served at any time. The popularity of nasi lemak has reached worldwide. Nowadays, nasi lemak is widely available on street vendors in Malaysia.
- Nasi Goreng (Indonesia)
Nasi goreng is an exclusive Indonesian version of fried rice. Natives believe that Nasi Goreng was the result of the assimilation between Chinese culture and Indonesian culture. According to Chinese tradition, the act of wasting food is sinful. Thus, nasi goreng was created out of practical culture. Originally, nasi goreng is a breakfast dish made of leftover rice from the previous day.
Nowadays, nasi goreng is made on purpose and served on any occasion. Rice is fried in a little amount of oil and spices like garlic, onion, and chilli. The special flavouring that makes Indonesian fried rice different is the abundant use of sweet soy sauce. The sauce gives a deeper flavour to nasi goreng. Nasi goreng is commonly topped with fried eggs.
- Hainan Chicken Rice (Singapore)
Hainan chicken rice was originated from Hainan, an island located south of China. The migrants brought the recipe to Singapore in the 19th century. Later, it turns into a famous dish in Singapore. Hainan chicken rice consists of fragrant steamed rice served alongside with bite-sized pieces of steamed chicken. Then, splattered with sesame oil and soy sauce. For the final touch, sliced cucumbers and chilli sauce are added on the side. Sometimes, the liquid of steamed chicken is spiced and served as an additional soup.
The difference between the Hainanese and the Singaporean version of this dish is the kind of broths and the condiments used. While the Singaporean version uses chicken broth and chilli, the original Hainanese version uses pork broth and pounded ginger. However, the Singaporean version turns out to be the favourite one. It is widely available on street vendors along the streets of Singapore.