I’m back!  I returned last week from an amazing two-week adventure in Singapore and Thailand.  Over the next few posts I hope to highlight some of the amazing food that we had there, as well as recreate some of the dishes at home with a full cost analysis.  From Singapore’s famous chili crab, to Thai curries, to street food, we ate it all!  Here are just a few of the major things that stood out from my culinary adventures:

1) Cheap eats In Thailand we routinely ate full dinners with fruit shakes, appetizers, and two entrees for around $10.  Street food was also extremely cheap and not once made me sick.  Pineapple for sixty-seven cents?  Yes, please!  Mystery meat on a stick for $1? OK!  Coconut donuts for $1 each?  Sure, I’ll have two!  It’s no wonder my weight loss efforts prior to the trip were quickly undone.

2) Roti Where have you been all my life??  These heavenly crepe-like pancakes are sold by street vendors everywhere, with a multitude of filling options both sweet and savory.  And of course, they’re cheap too (~$1-2).  My favorites were banana and chocolate topped with sweetened condensed milk, and egg/onion/tomato topped with chili sauce and mayo.  It still amazes me that something this simple can be so good.  I think the secret is the pound of ghee that the roti are cooked in :-O

3) Can you take the heat? Ask for ‘a little spicy’ and you’re likely to be wiping sweat off your face for hours afterwards.  My palate was just getting adjusted to the more intense heat by the end of the trip.  I distinctly remember not ordering water with my red snapper curry at one of the last meals I had in Thailand and thinking I was going to die.  But I actually ate the whole thing without a drop of water!  Woohoo!

4) The world needs more hawker centers Perhaps the thing I was looking forward to most on the trip was going to a hawker center in Singapore.  Boy, did it live up to my expectations!  If you’re not familiar with these, they’re somewhat like American food courts in malls on steroids and with much tastier food.  Row upon row of vendors served all kinds of ethnic food- Indian, Chinese, Malay- this is the melting pot of Asia, after all!  I was extremely lucky that my fiancé had scoped out the hawker center he took me to prior to my arrival.  Navigating the rows of stalls can be confusing and the number of options of food dizzying.  But just pick something and eat it; odds are it will be amazing.

Look for more posts on this trip in the future.  If you just can’t wait, check out the blog that my fiancé and I co-author: The International Food Project.  It details much of the food he has had on his trip all over southeast Asia and will focus on recreating it at home!