Our 12 most popular Asian recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo include recipes for everything from noodle soups to rice porridges and barbecued skewers to spicy curries, along with ingredients, such as a Thai red curry paste – with tips to using a mortar and pestle – and the Vietnamese fresh rice noodle sheets for phở cuốn Hà Nội and bánh phở.
We’re continuing Grantourismo’s 12th birthday celebrations with our series of collections of our 12 most popular all-time posts of the last twelve years of the life of Grantourismo. We’re sharing compilations of posts in a number of the most popular categories, starting with recipes, which are some of our most popular posts.
We kicked off with our top 12 most popular recipes of the last 12 years, then shared our 12 most popular Weekend Eggs recipes of the last 12 years from our breakfast eggs recipe series, on quintessential eggs dishes from around the world, which we launched with Grantourismo in 2010.
Today we’re sharing our 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years, which are mostly Southeast Asian recipes. Prior to launching Grantourismo, we’d spent four years bouncing around the planet as travel guidebook authors, mostly in Europe, but also Australia, Argentina, and the Middle East, so the recipes from the launch year were more diverse.
After the yearlong global grand tour that launched Grantourismo ended in early 2011, we spent some time with family back in Australia, before making Southeast Asia our base – first Thailand, then Vietnam, then Cambodia – from which to explore the region. That explains why the majority of the recipes on Grantourismo since that period have been Asian.
Our 12 most popular Asian recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo are the 12 most searched-for, most-visited, and – we like to think – the most-cooked recipes in the 12 years since we launched Grantourismo with a 12-month trip aimed at promoting slow, local and experiential travel.
If you’re visiting for the first time, back in 2010 we spent a year travelling the world, settling in to places for two weeks at a time, staying in apartment rentals and holiday homes to get an insight into how locals lived their lives. Food was an integral part of that experience.
In each place we settled into, we explored the local food, connected with local cooks and chefs, and learnt to cook dishes from locals, which we shared in a series called The Dish, for which Terence learnt to cook a quintessential dish of each place, and the series Weekend Eggs, which we rebooted last year.
As the most popular posts on Grantourismo are recipes and food posts, we thought we’d kick off with collections of our all-time 12 most popular recipes, but before I tell you about those, we have a favour to ask.
Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or other content on the site, please consider supporting Grantourismo. You could buy us a coffee and we’ll use that donation to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing or donate to our epic original Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon.
Another option is to use our links to book accommodation, rent a car or campervan or motorhome, buy travel insurance, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide. Or purchase something on Amazon, such as these James Beard award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, cookbooks for culinary travellers, travel books to inspire wanderlust, or gifts for Asian food lovers, picnic lovers and travellers who love photography. We may earn a small commission but you won’t pay extra.
You could also shop our Grantourismo store on Society6 for gifts for foodies, including fun reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images. Now let’s tell you about our 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last twelve years.
12 Most Popular Asian Recipes in 12 Years of Grantourismo – Your All-Time Top 12 Asian Recipes
These are our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo, the recipes that were most searched-for and most-visited, and – we like to think – the recipes that you most cooked.
Vietnamese Fresh Rice Noodle Recipe for Phở Cuốn Hà Nội and Phở Noodles
We’re chuffed to see this Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe is one of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo. I love to think you’re all at home making rice noodles by hand. This recipe can be used to make the rice noodle sheets for the Hanoi style Vietnamese fresh rice noodle rolls known as phở cuốn Hà Nội and the pho noodles or bánh phở that are used in Vietnam’s world-famous rice noodle soup, phở. We published this recipe as part of a series of Vietnamese spring roll recipes, which we launched after I’d returned from Hanoi, where I’d finished hosting a 22-day Vietnam Culinary Tour and I was already missing Vietnamese food. What I love about this recipe is that once you’ve made the fresh flat pho rice noodle sheets for the phở cuốn you can keep half the noodle sheets aside which you cut with a knife or scissors into thin 1cm strips to make phở noodles. We first learnt to make these at the Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, which is excellent, if you ever get to Hoi An.
Lao Khao Soi Recipe for the Laotian Soup with a Ragu Bolognese Style Sauce
Lao food, like Cambodian food, is not as well-known as the food of Thailand and Vietnam, yet it’s just as delicious, so we’re delighted to see that this recipe for Lao khao soi is another one of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes in 12 years of the site. Our Lao khao soi recipe makes a filling Laotian soup with wide rice noodles and a rich, hearty sauce of pork mince, tomatoes and fermented soy beans that could best be described as a Southeast Asian style ragu Bolognese soup. Warning: this is seriously addictive. Terence has been perfecting this recipe for years, since we first tasted Lao khao soi on our first trip to Laos. Our food-loving guide Bounmee pointed out a simple noodle joint that he claimed made the best Lao khao soi in Luang Prabang. As soon as our tour ended, we made a beeline for the timber and corrugated iron shack and the best Lao khao soi we’ve ever eaten. This recipe is Terence’s attempt to replicate that soup, and it’s very close.
Cambodian Chicken Rice Porridge Recipe for Borbor Sach Moan
That this Cambodian chicken rice porridge recipe for borbor sach moan, Cambodian congee, ranks higher on the list of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes than a dish from Thai cuisine, which is better known globally, is another surprising delight. Called borbor sach moan in Khmer, it’s commonly thought that this chicken rice porridge is a dish of Chinese origin and part of the Cambodian-Chinese culinary heritage rather than a Khmer dish, however, my research has revealed that Khmers were probably cooking and eating rice porridge before the Chinese arrived. Cambodians tuck into big bowls of borbor for breakfast, brunch, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner (particularly if someone isn’t feeling well), and a late-night supper (i.e. hangover cure). Here in Siem Reap you’ll find rice porridge made with anything from chicken and pork to fish, dried fish, seafood, snails, and frog legs. It’s served with an array of condiments, from dried fish floss and pickled vegetables to fish sauce, chilli flakes, chilli oil, and fresh fragrant herbs.
Authentic Beef Massaman Curry Recipe for the Rich Southern Thailand Curry
It’s no surprise that this authentic Thai beef Massaman curry recipe from Southern Thailand was on our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years. Thailand’s Massaman curry was voted number one on a CNN poll of the world’s top 50 dishes some years ago and it was the dish that made me fall in love with Thai cuisine many years ago. There are different stories as to how this ‘foreign’ curry ended up a staple of Thai cooking. One theory has it travelling from Persia to the Court of Ayutthaya in the sixteenth century. Another that it arrived in southern Thailand with Arab or Indian traders. The use of dried spices such as cardamom and cloves is an indication of ‘foreign’ influence, although in present-day recipes Thai cardamom instead of Indian is preferred by most chefs. But let’s not forget that cardamom was grown and used in Cambodian long before the Thais (Tais) arrived in Southeast Asia from Southern China. This recipe is based on Chef Ian Kittichai’s from his Issaya Siamese Club cookbook although he uses lamb shanks, which we highly recommend
Best Asian Noodle Recipes to Satisfy Your Comfort Food Cravings
Next on the list of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years is a collection of recipes rather than a recipe as such and it’s a compilation of our best Asian noodle recipes. We eat a lot of noodles – partly to satisfy comfort food cravings and partly because noodles can be quick and easy to make. I have to confess to compiling this collection of our best Asian noodle recipes on Grantourismo, as much for our ease as to share them with you. The round-up includes recipes for an array of Southeast Asian noodle soups and Asian stir-fried noodles. There are recipes for a spice-laden Singapore curry laksa and Myanmar’s beloved Burmese chicken coconut noodle soup ohn no khao swe (below) to a creamy coconut-based Chiang Mai khao soi gai and Indonesia’s chicken soup for the soul, soto ayam. We add recipes to this collection periodically, so if you’re a lover of Asian noodles, do bookmark it and check back from time to time.
Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe and Tips to How To Use a Mortar and Pestle
Considering the popularity of Thai food around the globe, it’s no surprise that this Thai red curry paste recipe, which includes tips to how to use a mortar and pestle was next on the list of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years. This Thai red curry paste recipe was the first recipe is a cooking series we ran some years ago called A Year of Asian Cookbooks. You can read the introduction to the project here. A Thai curry paste or any Southeast Asian spice paste made in a mortar and pestle is a pure expression of what we were trying to achieve with that project. No shortcuts. No food processors. No preservatives. Curries were a key theme and we explored the connections between the different types of curries and curry pastes used throughout Southeast Asia.
Best Korean Instant Ramen Noodles Recipe – How to Jazz Up Nongshim Shin Ramyun
This Korean instant ramen noodles recipe jazzes up Nongshim Shin Ramyun, which are the best instant ramen noodles as far as Terence is concerned. He likes the spicy soup seasoning of Nongshim’s Shin Ramyun, especially the Shin Black Noodle Soup, so he adds slices of char siu pork, blanched bean sprouts and Chinese greens, a soft-boiled egg, homemade chilli oil, and fried shallots to create a very filling, flavoursome bowl of noodle soup. I’m a big fan of instant noodles – I love Nissin ramen noodles – but I find the seasonings are often too salty. As I said in my post in which I shared my now not-so secret formula for upgrading instant ramen noodles, that I prefer to discard the little packets of dehydrated veg and seasoning, although I’ll keep any spiced oils, and instead add my favourite ingredients to really take instant ramen to the next level. That this recipe made the list of all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years was a surprise, but it was a sign of the times – pandemic times. We published this in 2020 during one of the peak pandemic periods when we weren’t leaving home much and were eating a lot of noodles.
Cambodian Beef Skewers Recipe with Lemongrass for Sach Ko Ang
This Cambodian beef skewers recipe kicked off a series on the best Cambodian barbecue recipes. Called sach ko ang in Khmer, these skewers are a classic late afternoon or early evening snack here in Cambodia. It was inevitable that we’d run a barbecue series eventually. We discovered these skewers on one of our first trips to Siem Reap when we were living in Bangkok. I think we smelt the smoky aromas first, then spotted the plumes of smoke, and let our noses lead the way. Skewered barbecue meats are found right across Southeast Asia, but what makes these special is the Cambodian kroeung or herb and spice paste that they are marinated in. It’s distinctly Cambodian. The skewers typically come with pickled vegetables and an optional douse of chilli. Baguettes, a legacy of the French, are also offered. To eat these skewers with a baguette, you place the skewer inside the baguette, hold onto the baguette tight, and pull the skewer out so the meat slides off. You can then add your pickled veg and chilli. We’re so pleased to this recipe was one of the all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years.
Nom Banh Chok Recipe for Cambodia’s Much-Loved Khmer Noodles
Of all the recipes that made our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years on Grantourismo, no listing brings me more delight than the inclusion of this authentic nom banh chok recipe for Cambodia’s beloved Khmer Noodles, a popular breakfast dish of freshly-made rice noodles doused in rich coconut-based curry, herbaceous gravy or light fragrant broth. While little-known outside Cambodia, except in the Cambodian diaspora, nom banh chok – also called nom pachok – is perhaps Cambodia’s most beloved dish and Cambodia’s national dish for Cambodians. For me, it has long been ‘Cambodia in a bowl’ and is perhaps my most favourite Cambodian food and I firmly believe nom banh chok deserves to be just as famous as Thailand’s pad Thai or Vietnam’s phở. There are different kinds of curries, gravies and broths doused on the noodles, but this recipe makes nom banh chok samlor proher, noodles coated in a yellow-green coconut-based fish curry that at its best is richer and creamier than other iterations. It’s garnished with fragrant herbs, seasonal vegetables, edible flowers, and wild herbs, making it a feast for the eyes as much as the stomach.
Soto Ayam Recipe for Indonesia’s Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul
This soto ayam recipe for the beloved Indonesian chicken noodle soup is based on the aromatic breakfast noodle soup we became smitten with on our last day in Yogyakarta on the island of Java, and it’s another one of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years on Grantourismo. Soto ayam is chicken soup. ‘Soto’ means soup and ‘ayam’ is chicken. It’s an Indonesian chicken soup with noodles that is the go-to street food breakfast for many locals. But just as my favourite chicken soup recipe might differ markedly from your chicken soup recipe, there seems to be a soto ayam recipe for every village, town, city, and region on Indonesia’s 18,307 islands. But if there’s one thing that Indonesians seem to agree on, that’s that soto ayam is the country’s chicken noodle soup for the soul. Like all good chicken soups, soto ayam is comfort food, eaten as a healthy filling breakfast to kickstart the day, and recommended for the restorative properties of its ingredients (its turmeric in particular) when you’re feeling a little off or unwell.
Cambodian Fried Rice Recipe for the Best Bai Cha
Our Cambodian fried rice recipe makes the best Cambodian bai cha (fried rice), a lighter version of Chinese fried rice Thanks to many centuries of Chinese trade and migration, fried rice is found across Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, there are many variations, bai char being the most ubiquitous. It’s distinguished by two quintessential breakfast ingredients, sausage and eggs, and Siem Reap sausage in particular, the local take on lap cheong, the Cantonese name for a smoked, sweetened, red Chinese sausage. Bai cha is cooked in local homes to use up leftover steamed rice, and sold at street food stalls and simple local eateries. Cooks of Cambodian-Chinese heritage in the capital might use lap cheong in their bai cha, while Khmer Cambodians tend to use Siem Reap sausage. Sometimes you’ll see a fried egg plopped on top in addition to the egg combined through the rice. It’s another one of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years on Grantourismo.
Ohn No Khao Swe Recipe for Burmese Chicken Coconut Noodle Soup
This ohn no khao swe recipe for Myanmar’s beloved Burmese chicken coconut noodle soup, a distant relation to Chiang Mai’s khao soi, is one that Terence has been making since we first became enamoured with the dish in Yangon on our first trip to the country. It’s probably the most popular dish alongside mohinga and combines the best of the many renditions Terence and I sampled on our Myanmar travels, starting with the first ohn no khao swe we savoured at Yangon’s grand old hotel, The Strand. Ohn no khao swè consists of egg noodles in an aromatic chicken curry soup with a coconut milk base, typically garnished with crunchy fried noodles, boiled eggs, shallots, fried garlic, dried chilli, lime, coriander (cilantro), and sometimes fried chickpea fritters. While this is a Burmese version, there are dozen of variations, including in Shan State, where it’s called Shan hkauk swe. Known as a street food dish, offered by roving vendors and available from markets and roadside stalls, it was traditionally cooked in the home, and you’ll see it served everywhere from cafés to hotel restaurants. We’re thrilled it was another of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes of the last 12 years on Grantourismo.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make any of our all-time 12 most popular Asian recipes in 12 years of Grantourismo, as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.