Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while I love a full english, it just does not compare to the more greasy, flavoursome breakfast options in Southeast Asia. You think Curry and rice are just for lunch or dinner? Think again. These are a few of my all time favourite dishes to start the day with, and many variations of these dishes can be found across Asia.
This wholesome meal originates from South India but is also very popular in Sri lanka, Malaysia and Singapore. Rava means semolina, which is one of the main ingredients to this vegetarian dish. Think of this as a version of savoury crepe, just with so much more flavour, as all things in Asia. The dosa is usually accompanied by a mildly spicy vegetable curry and coconut chutney.
Chee Cheong fun
This is one of the meals I tend to crave every once in awhile. It is a rice noodle roll, fun meaning rice. It originates from southern China and can also be found in Hongkong, Singapore and Malaysia. “Chee cheong” means pig intestine, however, fear not! The meal contains no intestine of any sort, it just happens to look like one.
Other variations include a piece of pork or shrimp rolled up in the rice noodle. However, Chee cheong fun has no fillings. The timzheong sauce brings the main flavour to this dish, just thinking about it makes me hungry. There is a savoury and sweet version, the one you see below is sweet, covered in the sweet black sauce (similar to hoisin sauce), accompanied by a cold glass of fresh sugar cane juice – bliss.
This is one of my all time favourites and a known must have at my Grandma´s when I visit. This is a popular Sri Lankan cuisine which can also be found across Singapore (especially in little India or Changi Airport). Appam, also known as hoppers is a, is a crispy pancake with a soft and fluffy centre made of fermented rice.
Whilst, the “hopper” can be eaten either savoury or sweet, the version I grew up on was sweet, topped of with a lot of coconut milk and sugar while being fried on the specialized pan. The rice centre soaked up the coconut milk, leaving it moist and creamy. What you usually find in shops or street stalls is the plain Appam as seen below served with a bowl of coconut milk and gula melaka ( coconut palm sugar) separately. The difference to these two variations is in the texture of the soft centre.
I can easily have 4 of these for breakfast, however, my heart tends not to agree with this calorific sin. But it is definitely something you have to try!
Soya Bean Curd Pudding
This mildly sweet pudding is made of soya bean and is eaten either for breakfast or as a snack. It’s creamy taste and silky texture is the reason this warm pudding is so popular in Singapore and Malaysia, where it is served with a clear syrup and also known as Tau Huay. Other variations of this can be found across Southeast Asia and China with toppings such as peanut and ginger.
Although Tao Suan is typically a dessert, I justify it as a breakfast dish. This is a green bean starchy sweet soup served with Youtiao (similar to a light fried dumpling). According to the Chinese, this soup helps with indigestion and cools the body. According to me, it soothes the soul. You can find this in most food courts in Singapore by the dessert section.
Now do you still want that english breakfast?
One thought on “Breakfast for the soul – Top 5 ways to start your day in Southeast Asia”
Looks like a pancake to me – I’m sold! lol