Talk about Asian food and most people the world over would probably think spices and curries. But since I'm from the Philippines, where food is notoriously sweet than those of its Asian neighbors (Read: sweet spaghetti, sweet meat stews...), I confess that I'm still in the process of thoroughly appreciating typical Asian flavors. Here's a few of my food trips in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia. I ate this in Kuala Lumpur with my good friend Annissa (her treat, btw). It's curried beef with sauteed vegetables and fried oysters. The curry is very mild and palatable, although the resto also sells the regular Malay curry that for Filipino standards is infernal. The veggies and the oysters (I'm addicted to oysters!) cleaned our tastebuds and provided a good combination of salty and bland aftertaste in between the curry.
Singapore. In Little India, my high school classmate Jenny (who now works in Singapore) and I went to this curry restaurant that serves typical Indian dishes with typical Indian bread and typical Indian drink (I mean, Coke). Since I am not familiar with any of the dishes, I just asked for the least spicy. So they gave us curried lamb. The coriander gave a nice touch to the meat but the food was simply too hot for our palates. To add insult to injury, the customers seated next to us and having their snacks kept on pouring curry sauce on their plates as if there's a sugar-coated meal in the menu.
Thailand. What's a trip to Bangkok without sampling the famous Tom Yum soup? It's a tamarind-based soup with seafoods and vegetables, and flavored with a variety of spices (lemon grass, galangal, onions, chilies). I was with my college friends here and we asked for the mildest. Still and all, we ended up teary-eyed and snotty-nosed after a few slurps. The broth was refreshing but after counting to five, we began feeling the intensity of the dish. Yum.