Having come back from my recent week long trip to South East Asia, I got an opportunity to redraw my culinary boundaries. I came across some wonderful food and here are five things that impressed me the most.
This incredibly tasty fried noodle was something I discovered in Indonesia. Tossed up in olive oil, with a local soya-based sauce that’s hard to beat, this noodle requires no side dish. It is cooked with generous quantities of grated carrot, cabbage, onion and bell pepper (seafood/chicken also available) and comes with a fancy-looking fried egg and cut cucumbers on the side, leaving you with an instagrammable plate. It is one of those items that I wish was available in not just the hard-to-reach fine dining restaurants out here in India.
Cost per plate: $4 (IDR 45k)
Before you go on your assumption trail looking at the name, this beverage from Malaysia is a simple concoction of the legendary Nestle Milo with a twist. It is a milk based drink, served in a tall glass with large ice cubes stuck right in the middle. Piping hot Milo is poured into the glass, and filled with more Milo powder up to the brim. What does this result in, you ask? You’ll get a mind numbing fusion of hot and cold Milo in a single sip from the straw.
Pro tip: Finish it before the ice melts or the whole drink turns to room temperature.
This is a sweet dish that is essentially a rolled pancake stuffed with a coconut-honey filling. It tasted surprisingly similar to the traditional Indian Kozhakattai or Modak, except the outer shell being chewier and having a distinctly sweet flavour. The presentation is spot on, and it is a solid dessert to complete your meal.
Cost per plate containing 3 pieces: $4 (IDR 45k)
This fusion special from Punjabi By Nature is a food lover’s treat. Imagine this: a large butter naan spread with Grade-A tandoori tikka sauce, paneer cubes and topped with delectable mozzarella cheese. Baked to perfection. This is a combination of two bestseller dishes. Look at the picture, and then listen to me saying it tastes better than it looks. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner in our hands.
Cost per plate: ₹400 ($6)
For a packaged drink to make this list, it should have truly impressed me. And boy, how it did! This sugary delight with a tinge of strawberry was perfect accompaniment to any food I had on my travels in Indonesia. For a non-aerated drink person, I enjoyed this so much that I decided to carry one can back to India. Unfortunately, it was seized by the security-check guards at the transit airport (it’s an annoying practice to scan hand baggage at every terminal even in transit, but that’s a story for another day).
All photos shot on iPhone X.