As the chef de cuisine at New York's Spice Market, which specializes in Southeast Asian street food, I recently traveled to Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand to experience the cuisine firsthand.
What I saw and tasted there gave me a better understanding of how to use basic Asian ingredients I'd already been using daily — like ginger, lemongrass, kaffir and lime leaf, which I saw being used more than I was used to and in a variety of new and interesting preparations.
In Singapore, I learned that their cuisine is influenced by a number of different cultures — you really can find the best Indian, Malaysian and Thai food there!
In Hong Kong, I learned to truly enjoy and experience the best dim sum in the world. I ate the best pork I've ever had, and learned so much about Chinese cuisine.
In Thailand, my biggest lesson was that nothing goes to waste. The Thai utilize every part of an animal in cooking, and the food there has many textures.
Since I've gotten back to the city, I've been adding more spice to the menu, and I've started running specials at Spice Market of dishes I loved on my trip, including a Crispy Pork Belly I had in Hong Kong and a Citrus Glaze Spare Ribs I enjoyed in Thailand.
I documented my trip — and what I ate — in photos, which appear below. Let me know what you think!