Southeast Asian Food – Does a Body Good!

I’ve always been a fan of Asian food. Ever since I had my first taste of Chinese food I was hooked!

I remember going to a family-style restaurant when I was little and sharing 6 dishes of wonderful vegetables and amazing tasting sauces. As I grew older I discovered a world far outside of the typical egg roll, sweet and sour, and teriyaki stuff that seems to be abundant everywhere.

I became exposed to the amazing food of Southeast Asia. If you don’t get to eat this on a regular basis, you are missing out!

southeast asian food

[I took Japanese as a foreign language in high school. Our teacher issued us some fancy chopsticks and then instructed us to only use chopsticks for every meal for a month. I still use this important skill on a regular basis. Thank you Ms. Inoue!]

It All Started With 4-Star Chicken Pad Thai and a Cold Singha

About 15 years ago my friend Gerry, invited me to a restaurant called Tup Tim Thai in Seattle. He asked me if I had ever had Thai food and I told him “I’m not sure”.

He explained to me that it was kind of a fresher and spicier version of Chinese food. At the time, I loved anything spicy (still do)…I was kind of a Mexican food addict, but wasn’t super happy about all the excess calories found in most Mexican food.

I was game to try something different and it sounded right up my alley.

I Was Hooked on Thai Food the Second it Hit My Mouth!

Don’t get me wrong…the 4-star was a bit more heat than I anticipated, but that is why I ordered a cold Singha beer. This light bodied beer was a perfect compliment to the spicy kick that the Pad Thai delivered.

If I remember correctly it was a Friday and nothing tastes more refreshing than that 1st Friday beer in a frosty mug! The beer gods insure that the 1st Friday beer tastes extra-special.]

singha beer thailand
[Even the mere picture of a cold beer makes me smile a bit.]

Thai Food Addict Discovers Freshness of Vietnamese Food

Thai food was kind of a “gateway food” for me to move on to other exotic Southeast Asian foods. Vietnamese food is quite possibly the healthiest and freshest food on the planet!

Seriously…all the vegetables taste like they were just pulled out of the garden. Even the meat has a really clean taste to it. They use basic ingredients but then combine them in a magical way to create food where you can taste every fresh ingredient.

I like it just as much as Thai food…and that is saying a lot, because Thai food is “drug like”!

Vietnamese Food – Asian Food With a French Influence

The French occupied a large portion of the Southern Region of Vietnam in the early 1900’s. Because of this, there is a french influence on the Vietnamese cuisine.

They incorporate French Bread into some of their meals and drink European beer for the most part (Heineken). One of my favorite sandwiches is called Bánh mì.

It is basically a French Baguette filled with carrots, daikon radish, cilantro, sliced Jalapenos, fresh cucumber slices, and typically some form of sliced pork (ham, head cheese, or bologna).
vietnamese pho noodle soup
[Here is what a typical Vietnamese meal looks like. A lot of focus on vegetables and a lot of soup dishes. Your body will feel great after eating a meal like this…unlike many of the foods eaten in the west like pizza, burger and fries, etc.]

A Heavy Use of Vegetables and Fresh Unprocessed Foods

I haven’t mentioned many of the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, but their food is just as healthy as Vietnamese and Thai food.

What I would recommend is to try some of these delicious foods, if you get the chance. A good intro to Vietnamese food is Pho (noodle soup) and a good intro to Thai food is Pad Thai.

These are just the basics, you will find dishes that you like better.

Note: I’m guessing that most people have been exposed to Thai food, but less people have really explored Vietnamese food.

If you want to stick to a clean diet while having delicious food, I would certainly recommend Vietnamese food as a way to do that.

50 thoughts on “Southeast Asian Food – Does a Body Good!”

  1. and doesnt rice(in a way) help you slim down/stay slim? because rice expands when wet so you feel full without eating a bunch of rice? i think that you eat rice and it expands in your stomach leaving you feeling full without actually eating a lot.
    well it makes sense to me. if i’m wrong then oh well.

  2. I’m half Korean and I have to say that I think Korean food is fantastic and very healthy. My mother (who’s Korean) also likes Vietnamese food because she thinks many of the dishes are prepared similar to Korean dishes. Korean food consists of a lot of marinated barbecued meats and seafood and different types of fresh and pickled veggies (kimchi). It’s also spicy if you’re into that (and who isn’t?)

  3. a malaysian too..those food u mention just now..i can feel my stomach rumbling and screaming for food..but im not gonna eat it cause ive taken my meal..i always had this stupid habit of eating although i know im not hungry..but got rid of this dumb habit

    p.s-they should hv mention malaysia…

  4. a malaysian too..those food u mention just now..i can feel my stomach rubling and screaming for food..but im not gonna eat it cause ive taken my meal..i always had this stupid habit of eating although i know im not hungry..but got rid of this dumb habit

  5. The smaller the chilli pepper, the hotter it usually is, with the exception of the habanero, that’s the hottest I think. For counteracting heat, the best cure is dairy products, the fat, casein, and lactose latch onto the capsaicin molecule and breaks the chemical bond that capsaicin has on your tongue!

  6. If you like the flavors of SEA food but don’t like the heat, try Cambodian food, it’s basically the foundation of Thai food with the boldness of Vietnamese, without all the heat. Us Cambodians like a balance and harmony of flavors, sweet, sour, salty, and fresh without peppers incinerating our tongues and overpowering every delicate flavor we’ve worked to create in a dish. Those of us who like spicier food add the heat afterwards to customize to our own tastes. You can always ask the people at Thai/Vietnamese restaurants to leave out the spice in your food as well if you don’t have access to a Cambodian restaurant, they aren’t as common, unfortunately. SEA is the best and healthiest cuisine in the world for my money!

  7. wow this is great, ASIAN FOOD are the best.. chinese, viet, and thai food are soo GOOD! I am actually currently living in a household that owns 2 vietnamese restaurant and 1 viet bakery. The landlord brings back food for me from her restaurant almost everyday since I started living here. I know, it’s like a dream come true. You should definitely try korean food, that’s even better!

    Anyways, I’ve been following your site for about a year or so now, I am very grateful for your site, it has tons and tons of helpful fitness information on it. I even bought “Eat Stop Eat” and “Power to the people!” by Pavel Tsatsouline after being influenced by your blog. I have to say.. this is a very good site, keep up the good work!

  8. Great post for getting creative with your diet. I love having chicken tikka masala as a cheat meal or Soba Noodles with a dash of soy sauce for lunch to keep my energy levels up in the afternoon.

  9. Vietnamese food is the way to go. It is relatively healthy food, and more importantly, IT’S DELICIOUS! Its nice to get the French influence without all the french fats. Another great thing about Vietnamese food is that its usually pretty cheap. you can’t beat that.

    Great post. i look forward to trying other SE asian food.

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