Summer is in high gear for most of the world. In Southeast Asia, we get to enjoy summer all year round. Southeast Asians have learnt to beat the heat by keeping body temperature low and enjoy a cool meal or an iced drink. Here are some all-time favorites from around the region.
Salad: Yam Ma Muang (Thai mango salad)1
The Thai mango salad is prepared with julienned green mangoes, which gives the dish its refreshing sour base. Complemented with chopped peanuts, julienned carrots and red onion, dried shrimps, coriander, lime juice, and fish sauce; this dish offers up sweet, sour and tangy flavours. Often served chilled, the appetising flavours open up the palate for a meal.
Main course: Hainanese chicken rice2
Hainanese chicken rice is a dish that combines silky smooth boiled chicken with white rice cooked in a fragrant chicken broth. With its origins in the Hainanese migrant communities in Singapore or Malaysia, the dish is popular throughout the region. A critical factor in achieving the right texture for the chicken is the ice bath. Right after the whole cooked chicken is removed from the cooking pot, it is drained before being completely submerged in an ice bath for 10 to 15 minutes. The result is a cool, springy chicken dish accompanied by a satisfying bowl of chicken-flavoured rice.
Dessert: Steamed ginger egg custard3
Though not from Southeast Asia, the steamed ginger egg custard is well-loved by the Chinese community and has been popping up in dessert cafes around the region. Made with eggs, milk, sugar, and ginger juice, this delicate cold dessert from Hong Kong also offers up health benefits: ginger juice is believed to expel stomach wind and improve digestion.
Drink: Chè ba màu (three-coloured drink)4
Chè ba màu, or three-coloured drink, is an iced drink made up of coconut cream and three coloured ingredients. Common ones include green mung beans, white black-eyed peas, and red kidney beans, tapioca, coloured jelly and tropical fruits such as longan, lychee and mango. Sweet, cold, and representative of Southeast Asia, this dessert can be commonly found all over Vietnam.
1 Spicy Thai Mango Salad For A Tongue Numbing Experience (13 February 2014). Available at: http://peepor.net/pint/blog/?p=6403
2 Hainanese Chicken Rice (8 August 2015). Available at: http://thewoksoflife.com/2015/08/hainanese-chicken-rice-%E6%B5%B7%E5%8D%97%E9%B8%A1/
3 Steamed ginger egg custard (15 May 2014). Available at:https://homemadeinhk.com/2014/05/15/steamed-ginger-egg-custard/
4 7 Asian Iced Desserts and Drinks (undated). Available at: http://smithsonianapa.org/picklesandtea/7-asian-iced-desserts-and-drinks/